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Science and Engineering Indicators 2004
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Chapter 4:
National R&D Trends

Federal R&D Performance and Funding

Technology Linkages: Contract R&D, Federal Technology Transfer, and R&D Collaboration
International R&D Trends and Comparisons
R&D Investments by Multinational Corporations

U.S. and International Research and Development: Funds and Technology Linkages

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National R&D Trends top of page
  • Research and development expenditures continued to grow in the United States, reaching an estimated $276 billion in 2002. But the rapid rate of growth of the late 1990s slowed considerably in 2001 and 2002. (More...)

  • Industry performed an estimated $194 billion of R&D in 2002, or 70 percent of the national total. Industry was also the largest source of R&D funding, paying for 65 percent of all R&D. Nearly all (98 percent) of these funds flowed to industry; the remainder financed R&D at universities, colleges, and nonprofit organizations. (More...)

  • In the industrial sector in 2001, computer and electronic products manufacturing performed 24 percent ($47 billion) of all industrial R&D and 17 percent of the nation's total R&D. The next largest industrial sector, transportation equipment, performed $26 billion in R&D in 2001. Nonmanufacturing industries associated with software and computer-related services performed between $24 and $25 billion of R&D in 2001. (More...)

  • Universities and colleges performed an estimated $36 billion of R&D in 2002, or 13 percent of the national total. However, universities and colleges performed the majority (54 percent) of all basic research. (More...)

  • In 2000 California had the highest level of R&D expenditures among all states, $55 billion. However, the ratio of R&D to gross state product was highest in Michigan at 5.8 percent compared with 4.1 percent in California. (More...)
Federal R&D Performance and Support top of page
  • Federal R&D support, in absolute terms, expanded from $66 billion to an estimated $78 billion between 2000 and 2002. This growth increased the Federal R&D support share of total U.S. R&D from 25 to 28 percent. In contrast, Federal laboratories and federally funded research and development centers performed only 12 percent of U.S. R&D in 2002. (More...)

  • In fiscal year 2003 the Department of Defense (DOD) is expected to obligate the most funds among Federal agencies for R&D support—$45 billion, or 46 percent of all Federal R&D obligations. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is expected to obligate the second largest amount in R&D support ($28 billion), followed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ($9 billion), the Department of Energy (DOE) ($8 billion), and the National Science Foundation ($3 billion). (More...)

  • The budget allocation for counterterrorism-related R&D increased dramatically between FY 2001 and FY 2003 from $0.6 to $2.9 billion. Most of this budget now falls under the aegis of the National Institutes of Health and the newly formed Department of Homeland Security. (More...)

  • In 1999 (the latest year for which these data are available), 10,000 companies claimed $5.3 billion in R&D tax credits, about the same level as in 1998. In 1999, 267 companies claimed $540 million for basic research, about 10 percent of the total research and experimentation credit. (More...)
Technology Linkages: Contract R&D, and Federal Technology Transfer top of page
  • In 2001, more than 1,300 manufacturing companies (or 8 percent of all manufacturing R&D-performing companies) reported contract R&D expenditures of $4 billion in the United States. Contract R&D expenditures as a proportion of in-house company-funded R&D is particularly notable in pharmaceuticals and R&D services. (More...)

  • Federal technology transfer activities continued to rise. In FY 2001, 10 Federal agencies reported more than 3,900 invention disclosures and filed nearly 2,200 patent applications. Patent applications increased to a peak of 2,172 in FY 2001, up 4.3 percent from FY 2000. Patents issued to these Federal agencies reached 1,608 in FY 2001, up 15.6 percent from FY 2000. (More...)

  • The same 10 Federal agencies executed 926 new cooperative R&D agreements (CRADAs) with industrial and university partners in FY 2001, up 5.9 percent from FY 2000, bringing the number of active CRADA agreements to 3,603. DOD, DOE, and HHS accounted for more than 80 percent of active CRADAs in FY 2001. (More...)

  • The Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR), designed to stimulate technical innovation by small firms and their participation in Federal R&D funding, awarded $1.29 billion in R&D funding to 4,748 projects in FY 2001. DOD led the 10 participating agencies in obligated SBIR funding at $576 million (45 percent of all SBIR funding), followed by HHS at $412 million (32 percent). (More...)
Technology Linkages: R&D Collaboration top of page
  • From 1985 to 2001 a total of 861 technology alliances were registered in filings required by the National Cooperative Research and Production Act. About half of the technology alliances during the period 1985–2001 involved activities classified in three industrial areas: electronic and electrical equipment, communication services, and transportation equipment. Fifteen percent (125 of 861) of these alliances involved a U.S. university, whereas about 12 percent (99 of 861) included a Federal laboratory. (More...)

  • A separate database covering international alliances shows that in 2001 there were 602 new international technology alliances in six major sectors, notably information technology and biotechnology/pharmaceuticals, up from 483 in 2000, a 25 percent increase. This is the first increase since a 19.5 percent increase in 1995 to its all-time high of 674 technology alliances. From 1991 to 2001, there were 5,892 new technology alliances. About 80 percent (4,646 of 5,892) of the 1991–2001 technology alliances worldwide involved at least one U.S.-owned company. (More...)
International R&D Trends and Comparisons top of page
  • The United States accounts for approximately 44 percent of total R&D expenditures in all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries combined. R&D investments in the United States are 2.7 times greater than R&D investments made by Japan, the second largest performer. In 2000 the United States spent more on R&D activities than all other "group of seven" (G-7) countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom) combined. (More...)

  • A noteworthy trend among G-7 and other OECD countries has been the relative decline in government R&D funding over the past 2 decades. In 2000, less than 30 percent of all OECD R&D funds were derived from government sources, down considerably from the 44 percent share reported in 1981. In aggregate terms, this change reflects a decline in industrial reliance on government funds for R&D performance. (More...)

  • As a result of a worldwide slowing in R&D spending during the early 1990s, the latest ratio of R&D spending to gross domestic product (R&D/GDP) for most G-7 countries is no higher now than it was a decade ago. The United States, devoting 2.7 percent of its GDP to R&D, ranked fifth among OECD countries during the 1996–2001 period. Sweden led OECD countries at 3.8 percent of its GDP devoted to R&D, followed by Finland (3.4 percent), Japan (3.0 percent), and Iceland (2.9 percent). (More...)

  • As an indication of an overall pattern of increased university-firm interactions, the proportion of academic R&D funding from industry sources (for G-7 countries combined) climbed from 2.6 percent of the academic R&D total in 1981 to 5.2 percent in 1990 and to 6.0 percent in 1999. (More...)

  • Among nondefense objectives, government R&D spending shares changed during the 1981–99 period: government R&D shares increased most for health and the environment and for various nondirected R&D (including many basic research) activities. Conversely, the relative share of government R&D support provided for economic development programs (which include the promotion of agriculture, fisheries and forestry, industry, infrastructure, and energy) declined considerably. (More...)
R&D Investments by Multinational Corporations top of page
  • Foreign-owned firms conducting R&D in the United States accounted for $26.1 billion (13 percent) of the $199.5 billion in total industrial R&D expenditures in the United States in 2000. This share fluctuated between 11 and 13 percent during the period 1994–2000. (More...)

  • In 2000 about two-thirds of foreign-owned R&D in the United States was performed in three industries: chemicals (27 percent), computer and electronic products (24 percent), and transportation equipment (12 percent). Seven countries invested $1 billion or more in R&D in the United States in 2000: Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, accounting for about 90 percent of all R&D expenditures by foreign-owned firms in the United States. (More...)

  • Parent companies of U.S. multinational corporations accounted for two-thirds of the R&D spending by all industrial R&D performers in the United States in 2000. These parent companies had R&D expenditures of $131.6 billion in the United States in 2000, whereas their majority-owned foreign affiliates had R&D expenditures of $19.8 billion, for a total of $151.3 billion in global R&D expenditures. (More...)
  • Two-thirds of the R&D performed overseas in 2000 by U.S.-owned subsidiaries ($13.2 of $19.8 billion) took place in six countries: Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Three-fourths of this overseas R&D activity was performed in three manufacturing sectors: transportation equipment ($5.7 billion, or 29 percent), computer and electronic products ($4.9 billion, or 25 percent) and chemicals ($4.3 billion, or 22 percent). These are the same three industries that accounted for most foreign-owned R&D in the United States, implying a high degree of R&D internationalization in these industries. (More...)

  • Certain emerging markets played an increasing role in U.S.-owned overseas R&D. In 2000, U.S. subsidiaries had R&D expenditures of $500 million or more in China, Ireland, Israel, and Singapore, increasing significantly their rank as hosts of R&D activities compared with that in 1994. U.S. computer and electronic products subsidiaries in Ireland, Israel, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan spent a total of $1.2 billion in R&D activities in 2000, or 25 percent of $4.9 billion in U.S.-owned overseas R&D in this industry. (More...)


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