United States Department of Commerce
William M. Daley
Secretary of Commerce

Technology Administration
Gary R. Bachula
Acting Under Secretary for Technology

Office of Technology Policy
Kelly Carnes
Assistant Secretary Designate for Technology Policy

Technology Competitiveness
Jon Paugh

Technology Administration
The Technology Administration (TA) is the only Federal agency working to maximize technology's contribution to America's economic growth. Pursuant to 15 United States Code Section 3704(c)(12)(15), the Technology Administration has among its statutory authorities the responsibility to:

The Office of Technology Policy
The mission of the Office of Technology Policy (OTP) is unique in the Federal Government: to work in partnership with the private sector to develop and advocate national policies that maximize technology's contribution to U.S. economic growth, the creation of high-wage jobs, and improvements in our quality of life.

For inquires regarding this or other OTP activities or reports please contact:

The Office of Technology Policy
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th and Constitution, NW
Room 4418
Washington, DC 20230
Telephone: 202-482-2100
Fax: 202-219-8667

Or visit the Technology Administration and OTP sites on the World Wide Web at

September 1999


National Science Foundation
Rita R. Colwell

Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Bennett I. Bertenthal

Division of Science Resources Studies
Mary J. Frase
Acting Division Director

Research and Development Statistics Program
John E. Jankowski
Program Director

Division of Science Resources Studies
The Division of Science Resources Studies (SRS) fulfills the legislative mandate of the National Science Foundation Act to ...

provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation, and analysis of data on scientific and engineering resources and to provide a source of information for policy formulation by other agencies of the Federal Government...

To carry out this mandate, SRS designs, supports, and directs periodic surveys as well as a variety of other data collections and research projects. These surveys yield the materials for SRS staff to compile, analyze, and disseminate quantitative information about domestic and international resources devoted to science, engineering, and technology.

If you have any comments or suggestions about this or any other SRS product or report, we would like to hear from you. Please direct your comments to:

National Science Foundation
Division of Science Resources Statistics
4201 Wilson Blvd., Suite 965
Arlington, VA 22230
Telephone: (703) 306-1780
Fax: (703) 306-0510

Suggested Citation top
National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Commerce, U.S. Corporate R&D: Volume I. Top 500 Firms in R&D by Industry Category, NSF 00-301, Authors, Carl Shepherd, Department of Commerce/Office of Technology Policy, and Steven Payson, National Science Foundation/Division of Science Resources Studies (Arlington, VA 1999).

September 1999

SRS data are available through the World Wide Web ( For more information about obtaining reports, contact or call (301) 947-2722. For NSF's Telephonic Device for the Deaf, dial (703) 306-0090.

Foreword top

The ability of U.S. industry to compete in global markets depends significantly on a continued, strong investment in scientific knowledge and technology. A confluence of maturing major innovations and accelerating rates of technological progress across many technical fields have contributed considerably to the current surge in U.S. economic growth. Both the creation of technology and the more effective adoption of key technological innovations, such as information and telecommunication systems, are dramatically transforming industrial landscapes. Nevertheless, while all firms may obtain considerable quality and productivity gains through the purchase and deployment of technologies, ultimately, over the long-term, U.S competitiveness rests on the willingness of firms to risk creating and developing new technologies in the first place.

This report, jointly developed by the U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation's Division of Science Resources Studies (SRS), provides perspective on the corporate research and development (R&D) spending that underwrites this essential creative process. While R&D spending has long been used as a proxy for measuring the activities of scientists and engineers, the report introduces the U.S. Corporate R&D data series to provide new information and context on the R&D activity of the Nation's top 500 R&D spending corporations. Based on the Standard and Poor's Compustat database, U.S. Corporate R&D is intended to both substantiate existing SRS R&D data series and to provide complementary information for analysts and decision makers. It should be noted, however, that U.S. Corporate R&D does not distinguish between different kinds of R&D. According to other 1997 NSF data, more than 93 percent of U.S. industry R&D spending consists of development and applied research. Significantly, while industry spending on development enjoyed robust growth during the 1990s, spending on basic research declined substantially in the mid-1990s, recovering to only 1991 levels in real terms by 1997. Measures of basic research can be found in the SRS special report, National Patterns of R&D Resources: 1998.

In addition to a straightforward account of 1996 and 1997 R&D activity of companies and the industries they comprise, the U.S. Corporate R&D report sets the baseline and lays groundwork for more in-depth research in the future. For example, subsequent reports that might follow could be expanded to include aggregate industry data for more-extensive categories of industrial R&D performers. These expanded research efforts could provide analysts and planners with information that allows for a clearer understanding of the process of technological change in the United States. It is our hope that, through such improved understanding, both public policies and strategic decisions by private companies could become more effective and successful.

Kelly H. Carnes, Esq.
Acting Assistant Secretary Designate of
Commerce for Technology Policy,
U.S. Department of Commerce

Mary J. Frase
Acting Division Director
Division of Science Resources Studies
National Science Foundation

Acknowledgments top

This report was written by Carl Shepherd and Steven Payson. Carl Shepherd is a Technology Policy Analyst for the Office of Technology Policy (OTP), Technology Administration (TA), U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). Steven Payson is a Senior Science Resources Analyst for the Research and Development Statistics (RDS) Program, Division of Science Resources Studies (SRS), National Science Foundation (NSF).

Other individuals from various Federal agencies provided information for inclusion in this report and reviewed the material for accuracy. Significant guidance and review were provided by Jon Paugh, Director for Technology Competitiveness, OTP, and John Jankowski, Program Director, RDS. The project had been originally conceived and initiated by John Jankowski.

Appreciation is expressed to officials of the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA), DOC for their helpful advice and suggestions. These include Lee Price, Chief Economist, ESA; Barbara Fraumeni, Chief Economist, Bureau of Economic Analysis; Frederick Knickerbocker, Associate Director for Economic Programs, U.S. Bureau of the Census; and Laurence Campbell, Senior Regulatory Policy Analyst, ESA.

SRS staff members providing review of the report included Mary Frase, Acting Division Director; Ron Fecso, Chief Mathematical Statistician; Larry Rausch, Chair of the SRS Peer Review Group; and Melissa Pollak and Raymond Wolfe, who are Senior Analysts. The text was edited by Anne Houghton, Publications Manager with assistance from Julia Harriston and Tanya Gore.

A special thanks is expressed to Laurie Leonard and Jerrilyn Heller of EDO Technology Services and Analysis, who thoroughly reviewed the content of the report, and provided composition services. A special thanks is also given to Howard Bernheim, of Standard and Poor's, for his guidance and support in the authors' use of the Compustat database. Appreciation is further expressed to Standard and Poor's, and its parent company, The McGraw-Hill Companies, for allowing the authors to use and disseminate Compustat data for the top 500 U.S. companies in R&D.

Finally, gratitude is shown to Jane Adams, Deputy Chief Accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission for her review and suggestions regarding the section on "R&D Valuation Adjustments."

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