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FYI Number 99: August 30, 2002

Science & Engineering Indicators: Trends in U.S. R&D Expenditures

The recently-released "Science and Engineering Indicators - 2002" report, produced by the National Science Foundation, contains much detailed information on U.S. R&D funding trends, sources, recipients and performers, as noted in FYI #98. This FYI looks at data from Chapter 4 of the "Indicators" report.

The report provides information on funding trends for U.S. R&D, by federal and non-federal government, industry, non-profit organizations, universities and colleges, over more than four decades. According to the data, when inflation is taken into account, total federal R&D spending and federal spending on applied research both declined between 1990 and 2000. The data also show that industry's share of R&D spending has grown significantly, while federal support represents a decreasing share of R&D expenditures. In 1960, the federal government supported 65 percent of total R&D, as well as more than 50 percent of basic and applied research. By 2000, the federal share of total R&D had fallen to 26.3 percent, and its shares of basic and applied research had dropped to 48.7 percent and 26.3 percent, respectively. At the same time, industry support grew to 68.4 percent of total R&D, 33.9 percent of basic research, and 66.1 percent of applied research. Below, selected funding trends for total R&D, basic research, and applied research, are shown in inflation-adjusted (constant 1996) dollars:

TOTAL U.S. R&D EXPENDITURES
(In millions of constant 1996 dollars)
1960: $61,790; 1970: $90,404; 1980: $110,927; 1990: $175,761; 2000: $247,519

FEDERAL R&D EXPENDITURES
(In millions of constant 1996 dollars)
1960: $40,176; 1970: $51,563; 1980: $52,656; 1990: $71,285; 2000: $65,127

INDUSTRY R&D EXPENDITURES
(In millions of constant 1996 dollars)
1960: $20,352; 1970: $35,955; 1980: $54,223; 1990: $96,183; 2000: $169,339

TOTAL BASIC RESEARCH EXPENDITURES
(In millions of constant 1996 dollars)
1960: $5,795; 1970: $12,367; 1980: $15,471; 1990: $26,667; 2000: $44,807

FEDERAL BASIC RESEARCH EXPENDITURES
(In millions of constant 1996 dollars)
1960: $3,578; 1970: $8,608; 1980: $10,913; 1990: $16,296; 2000: $21,804

INDUSTRY BASIC RESEARCH EXPENDITURES
(In millions of constant 1996 dollars)
1960: $1,543; 1970: $1,827; 1980: $2,255; 1990: $5,444; 2000: $15,174

TOTAL APPLIED RESEARCH EXPENDITURES
(In millions of constant 1996 dollars)
1960: $13,813; 1970: $19,795; 1980: $24,097; 1990: $40,428; 2000: $51,483

FEDERAL APPLIED RESEARCH EXPENDITURES
(In millions of constant 1996 dollars)
1960: $7,803; 1970: $10,669; 1980: $10,988; 1990: $15,920; 2000: $13,525

INDUSTRY APPLIED RESEARCH EXPENDITURES
(In millions of constant 1996 dollars)
1960: $5,525; 1970: $8,357; 1980: $11,742; 1990: $21,881; 2000: $34,047

The complete two-volume "Science and Engineering Indicators - 2002", including appendix tables, is available on the web at http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/seind02/pdfstart.htm. A CD-ROM of the Indicators can be ordered, free of charge, from the same site. For a hardcopy version, contact paperpubs@nsf.gov or call (301) 947-2722.

Audrey T. Leath
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
(301) 209-3094

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