This chapter discusses how different economic sectors—including business, the federal government, and universities and colleges—contributed to recent trends in research and development funding and performance. It emphasizes R&D in the business and federal sectors (chapter 5 covers academic R&D in detail).
The importance of these trends to national welfare is highlighted by the recent change in the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and related National Income and Product Accounts treating R&D as investment. The change recognizes R&D as a long-term contributor to GDP growth (see sidebar, “R&D in the U.S. National Income and Product Accounts”).
In addition to U.S. R&D trends, this chapter presents international R&D comparisons at the national and economic sector levels. One major trend highlighted here is the particularly rapid expansion of R&D performance in Asia. The chapter also details the distribution of R&D performed by foreign affiliates of U.S. multinational companies (MNCs).
This chapter is organized in eight sections covering national R&D totals, business activity, and government efforts in the United States and internationally. The first two sections cover U.S. and international comparisons in national R&D performance and funding.
The next three sections detail business sector R&D from the perspective of U.S. domestic activity, MNCs owned by U.S. parent companies or located in the United States, and cross-national industry R&D comparisons. The last three sections provide further detail on the R&D performed and/or funded by the U.S. federal government, compare the national government R&D priorities of the United States and the other major R&D-performing countries, and discuss several U.S. federal programs to promote technology transfer and commercialization.