Because S&T have such a pervasive impact on the quality of life and the standard of living in the United States and other industrialized nations, changes in the U.S. R&D enterprise attract considerable attention. In the past few years, a number of new trends have emerged, including an increase in domestic and international collaborative efforts within and across economic sectors, growth in R&D performed in the service sector, and industrial firms' diminishing reliance on central research facilities for new S&T breakthroughs. In addition, defense downsizing, which began in the late 1980s with the end of the Cold War, is continuing to force a reconfiguration of industrial R&D activity and a redefinition of the mission of Federal laboratories.
The change in the U.S. R&D enterprise causing the most consternation in the mid-1990s, however, is a lack of real growth in R&D investment. Although cutbacks in defense appropriations are responsible for a sizable portion of the reduction in R&D effort, the flow of dollars into civilian R&D projects also has been constricted. The immediate outlook for U.S. progress in S&T, therefore, may not appear as optimistic as it did in the past. Despite the lack of growth in R&D funding, there are some positive signs, including
The third section is devoted to the most recent data on the geographic distribution of R&D expenditures, including information on state and Federal cooperative technology programs. Defense-related S&T issues are discussed in the following section.
International R&D comparisons are covered in the last three sections, including analyses of absolute levels of spending by country, R&D-to-gross-domestic-product (GDP) ratios, government focus by national objective, and the internationalization of R&D and technology.