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Definition: Indirect supporting activities

Frascati Manual

Indirect supporting activities cover a number of activities which are not themselves R&D but which provide support for R&D. By convention, R&D personnel data cover R&D proper and exclude the indirect support activities, whereas an allowance for them is included in R&D expenditure of performers under overheads. Typical example are transportation, storage, cleaning, repair, maintenance, and security activities. Some activities, such as the provision of library or computer services are R&D proper if they are intended exclusively for R&D, but indirect supporting activities if they are provided by central departments for both R&D and non-R&D uses. The same argument applies in the case of management, administration and clerical activities. When these contribute directly to R&D projects and are undertaken exclusively for R&D, then they are part of R&D proper and included in R&D personnel. Typical examples are the R&D manager who plans and supervises the scientific and technical aspects of the project or the word-processor who produces the interim and final result of the project. It remains a moot point whether the bookkeeping associated with a specific R&D project is direct (R&D proper) or indirect (ancillary) activity. By convention it is R&D proper rather than an indirect support activity if it is carried out in close proximity to the R&D.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), "Main Definitions and Conventions for the Measurement of Research and Experimental Development (R&D). A Summary of the Frascati Manual 1993", OECD, Paris, 1994, p.16