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What is an FFRDC?

Federally funded research and development centers, or FFRDCs, are unique independent entities sponsored and funded by the U.S. government to meet long-term technical needs that cannot be met as effectively by existing governmental or contractor resources. FFRDCs typically assist government agencies with scientific research and analysis, systems development, and systems acquisition. They bring together the expertise and outlook of government, industry, and academia to solve complex technical problems.

FFRDCs work in the public interest and operate as strategic partners with their sponsoring government agencies to ensure the highest levels of objectivity and technical excellence. They are typically managed by a university or nonprofit parent organization in accordance with regulatory guidelines.

First established during World War II, FFRDCs operate in the industries of defense, energy, aviation, space, health and human services, and tax administration. There are currently some 36 different FFRDCs sponsored by the government.

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As an FFRDC, STPI provides: 

  • A combination of technical expertise, breadth of knowledge, and familiarity with issues not readily available within the U.S. government or outside contractors
  • Quick-response and long-term analyses in areas of established STPI expertise
  • Confidentiality to protect sensitive government information as well as proprietary information