Changes in Federal Support for Academic S&E and R&D Activities Since the 1970s


The past three decades have seen changes in both the composition and distribution of Federal support for academic S&E activity. There have been both an absolute and a relative shift in emphasis toward R&D support and away from "other S&E support." Consequently, academic institutions receiving Federal S&E support today are much more likely to be receiving R&D support than they were 30 years ago. Accompanying this shift in emphasis has been a dramatic decline in the number of institutions—primarily 2-year, master's-granting, and baccalaureate-granting institutions—receiving Federal S&E support between the beginning and end of the period. Although this decline began to reverse midway through the period, fewer institutions were supported in FY 2000 than in the early 1970s. It appears that only by improving their capacity to compete for and obtain R&D funds were institutions able to regain the Federal S&E support lost in the 1970s and early 1980s.

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