Applied Research
NSF 95-304

Applied Research

Over the 1986-94 period, national applied research spending grew at an estimated average annual rate of 5.3 percent, or 2.0 percent in real terms. Increases in industrial support are responsible for most of this gain. Industry accounted for an estimated 58 percent ($19 billion) of the 1994 applied research total. Federal support accounted for 35 percent ($14 billion) of the Nation's support for applied research. During the eighties, Federal support for applied research was intentionally deemphasized in favor of support for basic research. Even with the current administration's push to increase its support of generic/precompetitive applied research, Federal expenditures for applied research are only four fifths those for basic research ($14 billion vs. $18 billion).

Sixty nine percent ($28 billion) of the Nation's applied research was performed within industrial laboratories. Non-Federal sources accounted for most ($23 billion) of these monies; Federal sources provided the rest of the funds ($5 billion) for industry's estimated 1994 applied research performance.

Of the Nation's nonindustrial 1994 applied research performance, most was conducted by universities and colleges ($5 billion) and the Federal Government ($5 billion). About one quarter of the Federal intramural applied research total was performed in DOD's labs, and about one fifth of the total was performed within each of NASA's and the Department of Health and Human Services' labs. Total Federal applied research performance has been remarkably level over the past 30 years. After adjusting for inflation, expenditures have annually ranged between $3.2 billion and $4.1 billion since 1964.

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