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US R&D Spending Trends

Last fall the National Science Foundation's Division of Science Resource Studies issued a Data Brief with some interesting numbers on R&D spending in the US. Note that these numbers combine all R&D disciplines and that the physical sciences have fared less well than the biological and medical areas for many years. A few selections are featured below. The full report, R&D as a Percentage of GDP Continues Upward Climb, by Steven Payson, can be found online at http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs.

WHAT ALL SECTORS IN US ARE SPENDING ON R&D:

  • $247 billion, projected total 1999 R&D expenditures

INCREASE IN TOTAL R&D SPENDING:

  • 6.8%: average rate of annual increase in total R&D expenditures from 1980 to 1985
  • 2.1%: average rate of annual increases in total R&D expenditures from 1985 to 1990
  • 1.0%: average rate of annual increases in total R&D expenditures from 1990 to 1995
  • 6.1%: average rate of annual increases in total R&D expenditures from 1995 to 1999
  • 7.2%: average rate of annual increases in total R&D expenditures from 1998 to 1999

HOW R&D SPENDING COMPARES TO GDP:

  • 2.79%: R&D as a share of the 1999 GDP, the highest percentage since 1967
  • 2.67%: R&D as a share of the 1998 GDP
  • 2.61%: R&D as a share of the 1997 GDP
  • 2.87%: Highest R&D/GDP ratio in US history, in 1953

HOW R&D FUNDING IS SPENT:

  • 16.3%: share of projected 1999 R&D for basic research
  • 22.9%: share of projected 1999 R&D for applied research
  • 60.9%: share of projected 1999 R&D for development

WHO SUPPORTED R&D in 1999:

  • 68.5%: share supported by industry
  • 26.7%: share supported by the federal government, lowest since 1953, when data was collected

-Item courtesy of Richard Jones, AIP Public Information


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