Federally Funded Research and Development
Centers (FFRDCs) are unique, private-sector
entities that have unusually close, special
relationships with their U.S. Government
sponsors. They meet long-term research
or development needs that cannot be met
as effectively by existing governmental or
contractor resources. FFRDCs typically assist
government agencies with scientific research,
systems development and acquisition, and
analyses of other issues that are integral to the
missions and operations of the agencies they
support. They bring together the expertise and
outlook of government, industry, and academia
to solve complex problems.
First established during World War II, FFRDCs operate in the public interest as strategic partners with their sponsoring government agencies to ensure the highest levels of objectivity and technical excellence. They are typically managed by universities or nonprofit organizations in accordance with regulatory guidelines.
IDA manages three FFRDCs:
- Systems and Analyses Center for the Office of the Secretary of Defense
- Center for Communications and Computing for the National Security Agency
- Science and Technology Policy Institute for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation
The FFRDC is required to conduct its business in a manner befitting its special relationship with the Government, to operate in the public interest with objectivity and independence, to be free from organizational conflicts of interest, and to have full disclosure of its affairs to the sponsoring agency.
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Section 35.017
Government sponsors turn to these FFRDCs for three reasons: our independence; our freedom from conflicts of interest; and our record of producing rigorous, informed, data-driven analyses that impact government decisions. A trusted, compelling contributor to U.S. security and technology debates, IDA analyzes issues and challenges of national importance, particularly those requiring extraordinary scientific, technical, and analytic expertise.
IDA has no other lines of business outside the FFRDC framework. Our sole focus is on supporting our government sponsors in service to the nation. (PDF)