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News Release 12-156

NSF Reports on R&D Spending by Businesses in the United States

Health and defense applications account for 40 percent of business R&D

Illustration of a graph on a grid in the foreground with purple circles in the background.

R&D expenditures reflect company priorities and strategies.


August 22, 2012

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Businesses in the United States are focusing a large portion of their research and development efforts on health and defense, according to a National Science Foundation (NSF) report released today.

Of the $290.7 billion in total R&D that was performed by businesses in the United States in 2008, 40 percent was applied to health and medical areas ($76.1 billion) and defense areas ($41.5 billion). More than 86 percent of the health or medical R&D performed by businesses was paid for by the reporting companies themselves. However, the federal government funded most of the defense R&D performed by companies.

R&D paid for by the companies themselves reflects company priorities and strategies. Two-thirds of the company-funded health or medical R&D was performed by companies in the pharmaceutical and medicine industry. And most of the company-funded R&D with defense applications was performed by companies in the computer and electronic products or aerospace industries.

The report also provides detail on energy, environmental protection and agricultural application areas. Data are from NSF's Business R&D and Innovation Survey.

For more information on this report, please contact Raymond Wolfe.

Please visit NSF's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics on the Web for more reports and other products.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email: bmixon@nsf.gov

Program Contacts
Christine Hamel, NSF, (703) 292-7790, email: chamel@nsf.gov

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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