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.
The Institute for Defense Analyses operates three FFRDCs: one for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a second for the National Security Agency, and a third for the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President and the National Science Foundation. Our sponsors turn to IDA for two very important reasons: our independence and our freedom from conflicts of interest.