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News Release 13-196

NSF survey finds R&D expenditures in higher education relatively unchanged in fiscal year 2012

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With inflation, higher education R&D expenditures decreased in fiscal year 2012.

November 26, 2013

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 Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

According to recent survey results published by the National Science Foundation (NSF), university spending on research and development (R&D) in all fields totaled $65.8 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2012. After adjusting for inflation, higher education R&D declined by 1 percent in FY 2012. This represents the first constant-dollar decline since FY 1974 and ends a period of modest growth in higher education R&D during FYs 2009-11, when R&D expenditures increased an average of 5 percent each year.

Higher education R&D expenditures funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) decreased from $4.2 billion in FY 2011 to $2.4 billion in FY 2012. ARRA funding represented 6 percent of the federally funded R&D expenditures for FY 2012.

Most non-governmental funding sources demonstrated increases in higher education R&D expenditures between FY 2011 and FY 2012. Institution-funded R&D showed the most significant growth and rose by over $1 billion to $13.7 billion in FY 2012.

For more information on this report, please contact Michael Gibbons.

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


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

Program Contacts
Michael Gibbons, NSF, (703) 292-4590, email:

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 2021 budget of $8.5 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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