This study used a resource-based perspective to analyse the effects of organizational composition on the R&D performance of science and technology government-funded research institutes (GFRIs). We assumed that the composition of each GFRI would eventually be regarded as absorptive capacity and act as a moderating variable between R&D investment and performance. We used a panel generalized least squares (GLS) model with fixed effects to analyse panel data from 115 Korean GFRIs between 2011 and 2015. Our findings show that R&D investment of GFRIs has a direct and positive effect on performance. We also analysed how organizational composition can moderate the effect of R&D investment on performance. The findings provide evidence that organizational composition plays a moderating role between R&D investment and performance. Finally, this study discusses policy implications, its limitations, and also highlights future research directions.