Overview

Categories of Support
Agency Sources
University Shares
Geographic Distribution
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
Independent Nonprofit Institutions

Federal agencies reported a 4-percent increase in fiscal year (FY) 1995 obligations for academic science and engineering (S&E) activities, to a record high of $14.3 billion. The increase follows the 8-percent growth between FYs 1993 and 1994 in total Federal S&E funding. Measured in constant 1992 dollars, Federal academic S&E obligations increased by nearly 6 percent in FY 1994 and nearly 2 percent in FY 1995.

Categories of Support

The six academic funding categories in the Federal S&E Support Survey are: (1) research and development (R&D); (2) fellowships, traineeships, and training grants (FTTG); (3) R&D plant; (4) facilities and equipment for instruction; (5) general support for S&E; and (6) other S&E activities. R&D programs have maintained a consistent dominance of the academic S&E total in recent years (chart 1). Between FYs 1985 and 1995, the proportion provided R&D programs ranged from 84-87 percent of total academic S&E support. Academic R&D funds totaled $12.1 billion in FY 1995, an increase of more than 2 percent from the FY 1994 level (a small decrease, however, when the 2.5-percent inflation rate is taken into account). Agency specific data show that Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) projects accounted for more than one-half ($6.5 billion) of all academic R&D obligations.

chart 1

Each of the other five academic S&E categories showed increased funding levels in FY 1995, and each, except for "other S&E activities," increased to new highs at rates exceeding inflation. The "other S&E activities" category (whose current-dollar record was $992 million in FY 1992) includes all academic S&E activities that cannot meaningfully be assigned to one of the other five categories. Obligations for this category increased by 2 percent in current dollars with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) supplying over two-fifths of the total in FY 1995. FTTG support, up 6 percent in current dollars, rose to $674 million in FY 1995; HHS accounted for the majority of the increase and more than three-fifths of the FTTG total. R&D plant funds grew 56 percent to $335 million, largely from National Science Foundation (NSF) projects funded in the agency's Major Research Equipment and Academic Research Infrastructure accounts. NSF, in FY 1995, supplied nearly two-thirds of all academic R&D plant. Facilities and equipment for instruction increased 7 percent to $53 million, with all of the increase attributable to the Department of Defense (DOD). General support for S&E nearly doubled to $265 million because of more complete reporting from the Agency for International Development (AID). General support for S&E includes activities that provide support for nonspecific or generalized purposes related to scientific research and education.

Agency Sources

Of the six Federal agencies that accounted for the largest amounts of academic S&E support in FY 1995 (collectively providing 94 percent of the total), four (HHS, NSF, USDA, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)) reported current-dollar increases (table 1). However, when adjusted for inflation, only NASA and NSF showed increases (9 percent and 6 percent, respectively, in constant 1992 dollars). Nearly three-fourths of the NASA increase was for R&D projects and more than three-fifths of the NSF increase was for R&D plant support.

table 1

University Shares

The leading 100 university S&E recipients in FY 1995 (out of 1,111 institutions, excluding 42 system offices) accounted for 81 percent of the total and 83 percent of academic R&D (each of the leading 100 is a doctorate-granting institution). In FY 1995, less than one-third of all academic institutions receiving Federal S&E obligations granted doctorates, but nearly all (96 percent) academic S&E support was obligated to these leading 100 doctorate-granting institutions. Clearly this is indicative of the preponderance of R&D obligations in Federal S&E support and the concentration of academic R&D activity in these institutions.

Johns Hopkins University, including its Applied Physics Laboratory, was the leading university recipient of Federal S&E support in FY 1995 (table 2). Nearly four-fifths of its $729 million total was for R&D programs and most of the remainder was for "other S&E activities." The leading 20 universities, ranked by the amount of Federal academic S&E support they received, accounted for 36 percent of the academic S&E total. Eighteen of the top 20 academic S&E recipients in FY 1995 were among the leading 20 recipients in FY 1994. The new entrants for FY 1995 were the California Institute of Technology (twelfth) and the University of Pittsburgh (nineteenth). Cal Tech, previously ranked thirty-first, received about double its FY 1994 S&E obligation level, primarily as a result of increased NSF R&D and R&D plant support. Cal Tech received $90 million from NSF for R&D plant in FY 1995, resulting primarily from its $85 million Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory project. The University of Pittsburgh was previously ranked twenty-third in academic S&E support. The five leading universities in FY 1994 maintained the same ordinal positions in FY 1995.

table 2

Geographic Distribution

Federal S&E support to academic institutions is concentrated among several states. In FY 1995, 14 states accounted for 68 percent of such support. In each of these states, institutions collectively received over $300 million in academic S&E obligations. These states were located along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and within the East North Central Region (i.e. Great Lakes). Texas remained as the only $300 million-plus recipient outside of those regions. The six states receiving the largest amounts of Federal academic S&E obligations in FY 1994 maintained the same ordinal positions in FY 1995. Academic institutions within those 14 states also accounted for over two-thirds of all federally financed R&D expenditures at doctorate-granting institutions and enrolled nearly two-thirds of all graduate S&E students. The 14 leading states in terms of academic S&E obligations received in FY 1995 were also the top 14 states in FY 1994 (table 3).

table 3

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

Federal S&E obligations for 84 HBCUs increased by 17 percent (following a 21-percent increase the year before) and totaled $328 million in FY 1995. R&D programs accounted for 62 percent of all HBCU funding, smaller than the 84-percent share among all universities and colleges. More than one-half of the HBCU funding increase was for R&D projects. The miscellaneous category, "other S&E activities," continued to account for the second largest portion of S&E support at both HBCUs (16 percent) and among all academic institutions (7 percent). Howard University, with $35 million in total S&E support and $31 million in R&D funding, was the top HBCU recipient in terms of both total S&E and R&D support. Of the 84 HBCUs obligated S&E funds in FY 1995, 56 of them showed current-dollar increases from the FY 1994 level. The leading 20 HBCU recipients in FY 1995 accounted for 76 percent of all HBCU S&E support. The USDA, HHS, and NASA combined obligated over three-fifths of all academic S&E dollars to HBCUs in FY 1995.

Independent Nonprofit Institutions

Federal agencies' obligations in FY 1995 for S&E R&D and R&D plant to 1,177 independent nonprofit institutions (excluding obligations to Federally Funded Research and Development Centers administered by nonprofit institutions) totaled $3.3 billion, a 6-percent current-dollar increase. This increase follows two successive years of current-dollar reductions. Research institutes, numbering less than one-fourth of all nonprofit organization recipients (which also include voluntary hospitals and other independent institutions such as private foundations and trade associations), received 57 percent of all nonprofit funds. The number of research institutes proportionally has decreased over time, but their proportional share of nonprofit funding continues to be strong. In FY 1985, 10 years earlier, research institutes accounted for 42 percent of all nonprofit recipients and received 69 percent of all nonprofit obligations. Five of the top 10 nonprofit Federal R&D recipients in FY 1995, including the top three nonprofits (Draper Laboratories, the Mitre Corporation, and the Battelle Memorial Institute) were research institutes (table 4). The three largest voluntary hospital recipients (Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Scripps Clinic & Research Foundation) were among the top 10 nonprofit institutions for the seventh consecutive year. Eight of the top 10 nonprofits were among the leading 10 in FY 1994, with the new entrants being the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Association of Universities for Research and Astronomy. The leading 10 nonprofits accounted for 38 percent of all Federal S&E R&D and R&D plant funds to nonprofit institutions in FY 1995.

table 4

HHS provided 43 percent of Federal R&D and R&D plant funding to nonprofit institutions in FY 1995, and nearly all such Federal support (96 percent) to voluntary hospitals. DOD supplied 31 percent of all Federal R&D and R&D plant nonprofit support; 85 percent of these DOD funds were obligated to research institutes.


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