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Press Release 12-217

U.S. Universities Report Highest-ever R&D Spending in Fiscal Year 2011

Between fiscal years 2010 and 2011, university spending on research and development rose 6.3 percent to $65 billion

Photo of a microscope.

Life sciences represents one of the most rapidly-growing areas of R&D spending.
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November 26, 2012

The National Science Foundation released a report today showing that university spending on research and development in all fields continued to increase between fiscal years (FY) 2010 and 2011, reaching $65 billion in FY 2011. This figure represents a 6.3 percent increase from the previous year and includes $4.2 billion in expenditures associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The majority of university R&D was concentrated in the life sciences, which grew 6.6 percent to $37.2 billion. Engineering was the next largest broad field and showed a 7.7 percent increase to $10 billion in fiscal 2011.

For more information on this report, please contact Ronda Britt.

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


Media Contacts
Deborah Wing, NSF, (703) 292-5344,

Program Contacts
Ronda Britt, NSF, (703) 292-7765,

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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