WASHINGTON-The 50 U.S. universities that spend the most on R&D already average more than three times the research space available at less affluent institutions, according to a new survey re leased late last month by the National Science Foundation.

In addition, plans for expanding and refurbishing research space at these institutions in the next five years outstrip by 25 percent similar construction plans at the other 115 schools. What NSF calls the "top 50" schools expect to have 12.3 million more square feet of re search space by 1991.

NSF last spring conducted two quick surveys of research administrators and deans at 165 doctorate-granting institutions. The administrators reported that current construction will cost $1.7 billion-more than half of it at the top 50 institutions-and increase research space by 7 percent. New construction will increase research space 19 percent in the next five years at a cost of $5.8 billion, up-wards...

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