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News Release 12-219

Small Percentage of U.S. Companies Diversify R&D Expenditures and Tend to Have More Expansive Product Lines

New data reveal previously unavailable details about U.S. companies' sales and R&D expenditures for various lines of business

Photo of gloved hands working in a lab.

Companies venture and grow to offer multiple products, thus expanding their lines of business.

November 30, 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 Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

U.S. companies that diversify their research and development (R&D) spending across multiple lines of business are more likely to invest heavily in R&D and to have broader product lines, according to a report released today by the National Science Foundation.

While 8 percent of companies devoted their R&D efforts to more than one line of business in 2008, an NSF survey shows that these companies accounted for one-third, or $107 billion, of the $328 billion total worldwide R&D expenditures by U.S. firms.

Typically, companies initially offer a single type of good or service to their customers and expand to offer multiple products. These products are grouped together for management and accounting purposes and are commonly referred to as "lines of business."

Historically, R&D statistics have been collected at the company level, even if there is evidence that the company maintains R&D in multiple lines of business. Thanks to revamped survey questions on the 2008 Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS), this new NSF report details never-before-available data on sales and R&D expenditures for each line of business within the surveyed U.S. companies.

This new data from the revamped BRDIS promises to improve the depth of our understanding of R&D statistics in U.S. industry.

For more information on this report, contact Raymond M. Wolfe at NSF.

Visit the NSF's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics for access to more reports and other statistical products.


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

Program Contacts
Raymond M. Wolfe, NSF, (703) 292-7789, email:

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) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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