Working with DELS

Work With Us

The projects of the National Academies are independently funded. Most are funded by federal agencies, but state and local governments, foundations, and some corporations also sponsor studies and activities.

Study Sponsors

Most Academies studies are carried out at the request of government agencies or Congress; some are initiated internally; and a few are proposed by other external sources.

About 85 percent of funding comes from the federal government through contracts and grants from agencies and 15 percent from state governments, private foundations, industrial organizations, and funds provided by the Academies member organizations. Blanket authorization has been granted for federal sole-source contracts. Research-grant, co-operative-agreement, and contract proposals can be rapidly prepared.

All funds, regardless of their source, are accepted by the Academies with very stringent conditions to ensure that the acceptance of any funds does not influence the objectivity, scope, method of study, or membership of a study group.

Role of the Sponsor in Committee Selection

Sponsors are encouraged to suggest types of expertise and perspectives that should be on the committee and to suggest individuals to be on the committee. All decisions on committee membership rest with the National Academies. Generally, employees or officers of a sponsoring organization may not serve on a committee for a study funded in whole or in part by that sponsor.


Costs vary with the type of scope of the activity. Multi-year consensus reports can cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars. On the other hand, short consensus reports, workshops, and roundtables typically do not require the same financial investment as a consensus study. The Academies has implemented mechanisms to keep costs low and is continuing to review its policies and procedures to identify other changes to improve efficiency.