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Last updated: 01/04/2023 - 10:09am

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About the Survey

Type of Work

Scientific Discipline


About the survey

The Higher Education Research and Development (R&D) Survey is the primary source of information gauging the national level R&D expenditures at U.S. colleges and universities. The survey collects information on R&D expenditures by field of research and source of funds and also gathers information on types of research and expenses, and headcount of R&D personnel.  The survey results help the federal government and others analyze trends and assist in determining R&D priorities.  This information also forms the basis of a report which ranks institutions according to their R&D expenditures.   For these reasons, it is critical that principal investigators choose the correct type of work.  The first chart below, describes each type of work and also provides examples

Also very important to the information being correct in the HERD report is ensuring the appropriate scientific discipline is selected.   While the ASU Enterprise Research Administration system (ERA) defaults discipline based on the lead financial unit, the report can be made all the more accurate if the principal investigator can make a specific determination on each project.  The second chart provides a list of the scientific disciplines available for selection.

RAs are encouraged to confirm both the scientific discipline and the type of work with the PI.

Questions may be directed to


What type of work are you doing?

The first step is to determine if the work being performed should be classified as Research & Development. In addition to the straightforward examples below, designed to illustrate the different categories of Research (basic, applied, development), the F&A Wizard provides an extensive list of standard and non-standard examples of what can be considered Research in comparison to the 'Instruction' and 'Other' activity types associated with ASU's Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Rate Agreement.

Once it has been determined that the project is appropriately classified as Research, refer to the table below to delineate the type of Research & Development activity:

Type of R&D Activity






Research undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge without any particular application or use in mind.

Research conducted to gain the knowledge or understanding to meet a specific, recognized need.

The systematic use of the knowledge or understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including the design and development of prototypes and processes.




A researcher is studying the properties of human blood to determine what affects coagulation.

A researcher is conducting research on how a new chicken pox vaccine affects blood coagulation.

A researcher is conducting clinical trials to test a newly developed chicken pox vaccine for young children.

A researcher is studying the properties of molecules under various heat and cold conditions.

A researcher is investigating the properties of particular substances under various heat and cold conditions with the objective of finding longer-lasting components for highway pavement.

A researcher is working with state transportation officials to conduct tests of a newly developed highway pavement under various types of heat and cold conditions.

A researcher is studying the heart chambers of various fish species.

A researcher is examining various levels of a toxic substance to determine the maximum safe level for fish in a stream.

A researcher has a contract with the U.S. government to design a new stream monitoring system that will incorporate the latest research findings on toxicity levels for fish.

A researcher is studying the social dynamics between captives that are being illegally trafficked.  

A researcher is looking into the effects of human trafficking in developing nations.

A researcher is using past research results to design an international online alert system for human trafficking.

A researcher is studying the factors that go into deciding compensation for higher level management in companies.     

A researcher is analyzing CEO compensation with stock performance of Fortune 500 companies to do determine if there is any relation. 

A researcher is creating an educational program on human resource factors that influence stock performance for young companies.

A researcher is studying how tax laws have developed over the years.

A researcher is studying how changes in tax law have affected people in different socioeconomic classes

A researcher is working with government officials to develop new measures on how tax laws will impact constituents. 

A researcher is identifying causes of abnormalities in posture.     

A researcher is studying how different posture abnormalities can be treated with physical therapy.

A researcher is working with a hospital to diagnose and correct abnormalities in posture.

A researcher is studying how the brain identifies and reacts to different musical patterns.

A researcher is studying the impact of musical instrument instruction on the neuropsychological development of toddlers. 

A researcher is using music as a way to communicate and teach mentally deficient toddlers.

A researcher is reviewing a court ruling and the decision behind it.

A researcher is studying how a court ruling affected a whole generation of people.

A researcher is developing a program to anticipate how different populations may be affected by future court rulings.

A researcher is changing the curvature of the wood on a string instrument and how it impacts sound.

A researcher is redesigning a wooden instrument so that it can better project sound.

A researcher is developing an undergraduate class to teach string wood instrument design and sound optimization techniques.

A researcher is studying how archeological files have been historically maintained throughout time. 

A researcher is preserving newly found archeological files based on best practices as identified in previous research.

A researchers is developing a digital repository that will house and maintain archeological files from around the world.



What scientific discipline does your project fall into?

R&D Field





Aerospace, Aeronautical, & Astronautical 

Bioengineering & Biomedical 



Electrical, Electronic, & Communications

Industrial & Manufacturing


Metallurgical & Materials

Other Engineering

Astronomy & Astrophysics


Materials Science


Other Physical Sciences

Atmospheric Sciences & Meteorology

Geological & Earth Sciences

Ocean & Marine Sciences

Other Geosciences, Atmospheric, & Ocean Sciences

Mathematics & Statistics

Computer & Information Sciences

R&D Field






Biological & Biomedical

Health Sciences

Natural Resources & Conservation

Other Life Sciences



Political Science & Government


Sociology, Demography, & Population Studies

Other Social Sciences

Other Sciences




Visual & Performing Arts

Business Management & Business Administration

Communication & Communication Technologies

Social Work

Other non-S&E fields

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