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Press Release 12-156
NSF Reports on R&D Spending by Businesses in the United States

Health and defense applications account for 40 percent of business R&D

Illustration of a graph on a grid in the foreground with purple circles in the background.

R&D expenditures reflect company priorities and strategies.
Credit and Larger Version

August 22, 2012

Businesses in the United States are focusing a large portion of their research and development efforts on health and defense, according to a National Science Foundation (NSF) report released today.

Of the $290.7 billion in total R&D that was performed by businesses in the United States in 2008, 40 percent was applied to health and medical areas ($76.1 billion) and defense areas ($41.5 billion). More than 86 percent of the health or medical R&D performed by businesses was paid for by the reporting companies themselves. However, the federal government funded most of the defense R&D performed by companies.

R&D paid for by the companies themselves reflects company priorities and strategies. Two-thirds of the company-funded health or medical R&D was performed by companies in the pharmaceutical and medicine industry. And most of the company-funded R&D with defense applications was performed by companies in the computer and electronic products or aerospace industries.

The report also provides detail on energy, environmental protection and agricultural application areas. Data are from NSF's Business R&D and Innovation Survey.

For more information on this report, please contact Raymond Wolfe.

Please visit NSF's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics on the Web for more reports and other products.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8070, bmixon@nsf.gov

Program Contacts
Christine Hamel, NSF, (703) 292-7790, chamel@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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Bar graph of Business R and D in the U.S., by Application Area for 2008.
U.S. businesses focus their R&D efforts on health and defense.
Credit and Larger Version



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