Federally Financed Academic R&D Expenditures Hold Firm
In 1996, the federal government's share of research
and development (R&D) dollars expended at universities and colleges
held firm at 60% for the fourth year in a row, according to a recent data
brief from NSF's Division of Science Resources Studies (SRS).
The data brief reports that in FY 1996, academic R&D expenditures financed
by the federal government increased 3% (1% *) to $13.8
billion. This rate of growth was considerably below the nearly 9% (4% *) average annual growth rate in academic spending from federal
sources that had been maintained over the last two decades. Total expenditures
reached nearly $23 billion--again at a much slower average annual growth
rate than in previous years.
Total basic research spending at academic institutions rose to $15.4 billion,
up 4% (2% *) over FY 1995, with the federal government
providing 64% of the total, or $9.9 billion, a 4% (2% *)
increase. Expenditures for applied research and development totaled $7.5
billion in 1996--an increase of 3%, with the federal government providing
52% of the total.
"Although total expenditures in all fields grew, computer sciences, psychology
and physical sciences grew at rates below the 2% rate of inflation," writes
M. Marge Machen, author of the data brief. Federally financed spending grew
at rates exceeding inflation in social sciences, engineering, life sciences,
environmental sciences and computer sciences. Increases were below the rate
of inflation for physical sciences, mathematical sciences and psychology.
The 100 leading research institutions represented in the survey accounted
for 81% of federally financed spending and 80% of all academic R&D expenditures.
The leading 20 institutions alone account for 34% and 31%, respectively.
More detailed data are available in the SRS report Survey of Research
and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges, Fiscal Year
For a copy of the data brief, call SRS at (703) 292-8774, or send an e-mail
* Percentages in parentheses
are adjusted for inflation