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Press Release 14-009

NSF study shows declines in federal funding for research and development

image of two scientists in a lab

Budget authority for federal research and development declined the last two years.
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January 15, 2014

Recent data collected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) indicate that federal budget authority for research and development (R&D) and R&D plant budget together totaled $134 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2013--an estimated 7.1 percent decline from FY 2012.

The FY 2013 decline stems from spending cuts and sequestration mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The average annual growth in R&D federal budget authority from FYs 2007-10 increased each year at a rate of 1.6 percent. In contrast, between FY 2010 and FY 2013, federal budget authority dropped sharply (-3.1 percent in FY 2011, -0.4 percent in FY 2012 and -7.1 percent in FY 2013).

National defense typically accounts for at least half of the annual federal budget authority for R&D and R&D plant ($72 billion in FY 2013, or 54 percent). A sizeable portion of the remainder goes toward the broad categories of health ($30 billion in FY 2013), space flight, research and supporting activities ($11 billion) and general science and basic research ($10 billion).

For more information on this report, please contact Mark Boroush.

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
Mark Boroush, NSF, (703) 292-8726,

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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