SESTAT – the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System – is a “source of longitudinal information on the education and employment of the college-educated U.S. science and engineering workforce”. The data is collected through biennial surveys and uses information on individuals educated or employed in S&E fields as well as those educated or employed in non-S&E fields. It also relies on the Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR) which tracks the stock and inflow of doctoral-level scientists and engineers who graduate from US universities.


SESTAT is one of the many initiatives of the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), formerly the Division of Science Resources Statistics. This center’s mandate is the “collection, interpretation, analysis, and dissemination of objective data on the science and engineering enterprise”. NCSES Survey Data can be accessed through an online interactive tool and provides quantitative insights into annual R&D activity, government spending, facilities, etc.

Access to SESTAT

This database is freely available to the public; users can generate their own data tables for analysis. The data has been used in the following work(s) of entrepreneurship research:

  • Hsieh, C. (2016). Do the Self–Employed More Likely Emerge from Sequential or Parallel Work Experience in Business–Related Functions? Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 40(2), 307–334.