48 CFR § 35.017 - Federally Funded Research and Development Centers.
(2) An FFRDC meets some special long-term research or development need which cannot be met as effectively by existing in-house or contractor resources. FFRDC's enable agencies to use private sector resources to accomplish tasks that are integral to the mission and operation of the sponsoring agency. An FFRDC, in order to discharge its responsibilities to the sponsoring agency, has access, beyond that which is common to the normal contractual relationship, to Government and supplier data, including sensitive and proprietary data, and to employees and installations equipment and real property. 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. It is not the Government's intent that an FFRDC use its privileged information or access to installations equipment and real property to compete with the private sector. However, an FFRDC may perform work for other than the sponsoring agency under the Economy Act, or other applicable legislation, when the work is not otherwise available from the private sector.
(3) FFRDC's are operated, managed, and/or administered by either a university or consortium of universities, other not-for-profit or nonprofit organization, or an industrial firm, as an autonomous organization or as an identifiable separate operating unit of a parent organization.
(4) Long-term relationships between the Government and FFRDC's are encouraged in order to provide the continuity that will attract high-quality personnel to the FFRDC. This relationship should be of a type to encourage the FFRDC to maintain currency in its field(s) of expertise, maintain its objectivity and independence, preserve its familiarity with the needs of its sponsor(s), and provide a quick response capability.
(b) Definitions. As used in this section -
Nonsponsor means any other organization, in or outside of the Federal Government, which funds specific work to be performed by the FFRDC and is not a party to the sponsoring agreement.
Primary sponsor means the lead agency responsible for managing, administering, or monitoring overall use of the FFRDC under a multiple sponsorship agreement.
Sponsor means the executive agency which manages, administers, monitors, funds, and is responsible for the overall use of an FFRDC. Multiple agency sponsorship is possible as long a one agency agrees to act as the “primary sponsor.” In the event of multiple sponsors, “sponsor” refers to the primary sponsor.