by Mark Boroush[1]

New data indicate that federal budget authority for research and development and R&D plant together totaled an estimated $135.7 billion (current dollars, preliminary data) in FY 2014, an increase of $3.2 billion (2.4%) over the FY 2013 level (table 1). Nonetheless, this increase only partially offset the successive declines experienced in FY 2011 (down $4.6 billion), FY 2012 (down $0.6 billion), and FY 2013 (down $11.3 billion). These funding cuts have fallen much more heavily on National defense than on the nondefense budget functions.

TABLE 1. Federal budget authority for R&D plus R&D plant, by budget function: FYs 2005–15

ARRA = American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

a Other includes International affairs (150), Commerce and housing credit (300), Community and regional development (450), Education, training, employment, and social services (500), Medicare (570), Income security (600), and Administration of justice (750).
b Calculated as the compound average annual growth rate over the 2005–10 period.

NOTES: Data show budget information collected through July 2014. Data for FYs 2005–13 are final appropriations. The President's budget for FY 2015 also proposed an additional $5.3 billion for R&D and R&D plant as part of the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative. There is, however, insufficient information to break down this extra package by budget function, and this spending is not included above.

SOURCES: Agencies' submissions to the Office of Management and Budget per MAX Schedule C, agencies' budget justification documents, and supplemental data obtained from agencies' budget offices.

Table 1 Source Data: Excel file

Nondefense
Fiscal year All functions National defense (050) Total General science basic research (251) Space flight research supporting activities (252) Energy (270) Natural resources environment (300) Agri-culture (350) Trans- portation (400) Health (550) Veterans benefits services (700) Othera
Current $millions
2005 actual 131,259 74,641 56,618 7,477 9,656 1,324 2,245 2,094 1,866 29,129 742 2,085
2006 actual 136,019 78,737 57,282 7,539 10,401 1,244 2,219 2,118 1,730 28,932 769 2,330
2007 actual 141,890 82,658 59,232 8,712 10,988 1,922 2,096 1,950 1,380 29,581 820 1,783
2008 actual 144,391 85,129 59,262 9,007 10,672 2,076 2,202 1,997 1,413 29,212 886 1,797
2009 total 164,292 85,642 78,650 14,128 9,060 3,794 2,615 2,249 1,461 42,051 943 2,349
Actual 145,553 85,342 60,211 9,941 8,374 2,234 2,371 2,073 1,357 30,989 943 1,929
ARRA 18,739 300 18,439 4,187 686 1,560 244 176 104 11,062 0 420
2010 actual 148,962 86,789 62,173 10,509 8,232 2,570 2,430 2,206 1,517 31,693 1,034 1,982
2011 actual 144,379 83,226 61,153 10,581 8,658 2,265 2,314 1,768 1,420 30,990 1,160 1,997
2012 actual 143,737 79,875 63,862 10,536 10,801 2,231 2,300 2,005 1,511 31,411 1,160 1,907
2013 actual 132,477 70,781 61,696 9,620 10,476 2,289 2,169 1,818 1,359 30,200 1,164 2,601
2014 preliminary 135,665 70,724 64,941 10,207 11,015 2,399 2,378 2,088 1,367 31,196 1,173 3,118
2015 proposed 136,457 70,753 65,704 10,279 11,124 2,679 2,459 2,143 1,348 31,491 1,178 3,003
Average annual growth, 2005–10b (%) 2.6 3.1 1.9 7.0 -3.1 14.2 1.6 1.0 -4.1 1.7 6.9 -1.0
Percent change
2010–11 -3.1 -4.1 -1.6 0.7 5.2 -11.9 -4.8 -19.9 -6.4 -2.2 12.2 0.8
2011–12 -0.4 -4.0 4.4 -0.4 24.8 -1.5 -0.6 13.4 6.4 1.4 0.0 -4.5
2012–13 -7.8 -11.4 -3.4 -8.7 -3.0 2.6 -5.7 -9.3 -10.1 -3.9 0.3 36.4
2013–14 2.4 -0.1 5.3 6.1 5.1 4.8 9.6 14.9 0.6 3.3 0.8 19.9
2014–15 0.6 0.0 1.2 0.7 1.0 11.7 3.4 2.6 -1.4 0.9 0.4 -3.7
FY 2009 constant $millions
2005 actual 143,735 81,736 62,000 8,188 10,574 1,450 2,458 2,293 2,043 31,898 813 2,283
2006 actual 144,256 83,505 60,751 7,996 11,031 1,319 2,353 2,246 1,835 30,684 816 2,471
2007 actual 146,520 85,355 61,165 8,996 11,347 1,985 2,164 2,014 1,425 30,546 847 1,841
2008 actual 146,086 86,128 59,958 9,113 10,797 2,100 2,228 2,020 1,430 29,555 896 1,818
2009 total 164,292 85,642 78,650 14,128 9,060 3,794 2,615 2,249 1,461 42,051 943 2,349
Actual 145,553 85,342 60,211 9,941 8,374 2,234 2,371 2,073 1,357 30,989 943 1,929
ARRA 18,739 300 18,439 4,187 686 1,560 244 176 104 11,062 0 420
2010 actual 147,677 86,040 61,637 10,418 8,161 2,548 2,409 2,187 1,504 31,420 1,025 1,965
2011 actual 140,392 80,928 59,464 10,289 8,419 2,202 2,250 1,719 1,381 30,134 1,128 1,942
2012 actual 137,363 76,333 61,030 10,069 10,322 2,132 2,198 1,916 1,444 30,018 1,109 1,822
2013 actual 124,719 66,636 58,083 9,057 9,863 2,155 2,042 1,712 1,279 28,432 1,096 2,449
2014 preliminary 125,837 65,601 60,237 9,468 10,217 2,225 2,206 1,937 1,268 28,936 1,088 2,892
2015 proposed 124,436 64,520 59,916 9,374 10,144 2,443 2,242 1,954 1,229 28,717 1,074 2,738
Average annual growth, 2005–10b (%) 0.5 1.0 -0.1 4.9 -5.0 11.9 -0.4 -0.9 -5.9 -0.3 4.7 -3.0
Percent change
2010–11 -4.9 -5.9 -3.5 -1.2 3.2 -13.6 -6.6 -21.4 -8.2 -4.1 10.0 -1.2
2011–12 -2.2 -5.7 2.6 -2.1 22.6 -3.2 -2.3 11.5 4.6 -0.4 -1.7 -6.2
2012–13 -9.2 -12.7 -4.8 -10.1 -4.4 1.1 -7.1 -10.6 -11.4 -5.3 -1.2 34.4
2013–14 0.9 -1.6 3.7 4.5 3.6 3.2 8.0 13.1 -0.9 1.8 -0.7 18.1
2014–15 -1.1 -1.6 -0.5 -1.0 -0.7 9.8 1.6 0.9 -3.1 -0.8 -1.3 -5.3

The President's proposed budget for the federal government in FY 2015 calls for $136.5 billion in funding for R&D and R&D plant, an increase of $0.8 billion over the previous year. The President's budget also proposes a separate Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative (OGSI) that includes an additional $5.3 billion for R&D and R&D plant in FY 2015.[2] Implementation of this added funding, however, would require congressional action to raise the spending limit already enacted for discretionary spending that year. The specifics of the federal budget for FY 2015 remain in debate in the Congress as this report is published.

Recent Trends in Overall Budget Authority

Total of R&D and R&D Plant

Fiscal years 2005–10 marked a period of consistently increasing federal funding for R&D. Budget authority for the total of R&D and R&D plant rose by several billion dollars or more in each of these years (table 1). Year-over-year increases averaged 2.6% annually (or 0.5% annually, when adjusted for inflation). The $164.3 billion in budget authority for FY 2009 remains a high-water mark—the result of $145.6 billion for R&D and R&D plant through the normal congressional appropriations process, along with a one-time $18.7 billion increase through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

In stark contrast, since FY 2010 there has been continuing decline in the level of federal R&D funding. Budget authority for R&D and R&D plant dropped by $4.6 billion in FY 2011, down to a total of $144.4 billion. In FY 2012, there was an additional decline of $0.6 billion, down to $143.7 billion. In FY 2013, there was an even steeper decline of $11.3 billion, down to $132.5 billion for the year. The preliminary FY 2014 level increased by $3.2 billion, up to $135.7 billion, but this only partially offset the cumulative loss since FY 2010. When adjusted for inflation (table 1), the FY 2014 total is 15% below the FY 2010 level.

The federal budget for FY 2011 (enacted April 2011) imposed $38.5 billion in reductions in FY 2011 spending levels throughout the government, which then gave rise to a decline of $4.6 billion in budget authority for R&D and R&D plant. Congress also enacted the Budget Control Act of 2011 (passed August 2011), which was intended to address the then-ongoing national debt ceiling crisis. This act established a schedule of budget caps and spending cuts to continue over a 10-year period beginning with FY 2012. The FY 2012 budget (enacted November–December 2011), in keeping with the Budget Control Act's provisions, imposed a further $67 billion reduction in federal spending. The associated reduction in budget authority for R&D and R&D plant, however, proved to be only a modest $0.6 billion decline.

The FY 2013 federal budget (enacted through spending bills in September 2012 and March 2013) was also influenced by the budget-cutting provisions of the Budget Control Act and brought on further budget caps and cuts covering a second 10-year period starting in FY 2013. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (enacted January 2013) included provisions that slightly delayed (from January to March 2013) the onset of the mandatory spending cuts for FY 2013 under the Budget Control Act. Nonetheless, Congress and the Obama administration were unable to agree on alternative budget plans to meet the discretionary spending caps, and the automatic across-the-board spending cuts (“budget sequestration”) on security and nonsecurity programs specified by the Budget Control Act began to take effect in summer 2013. This time, the impact on budget authority for R&D and R&D plant was an $11.3 billion decline—most of which resulted from the comprehensive budget cuts, although Congress did also impose some further R&D-specific funding reductions through the regular appropriations process.

Senate and House of Representatives negotiations in fall 2013 yielded the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, which tempered the previously set limits on discretionary spending in FYs 2014 and 2015. The FY 2014 budget (enacted January 2014) was more favorable for R&D and R&D plant funding, yielding a $3.2 billion increase over the FY 2013 level.

The President's proposed budget for the federal government in FY 2015 calls for funding for R&D and R&D plant totaling $136.5 billion (0.6% higher than FY 2014). This amount is consistent with the House and Senate budget agreement in late December 2013 (Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013). Even so, this increase would be well behind the expected rate of inflation (1.7%) in FY 2015. Should Congress act favorably on the President's OGSI proposal, there would be an additional $5.3 billion for R&D and R&D plant in FY 2015, bumping up that year's budget authority total to $141.8 billion, a 4.5% rise over the FY 2014 level.

R&D Plant

R&D plant is an essential input for R&D activity, even if R&D is by far the more sizable component in the funding picture. The $132.5 billion total for federal budget authority in FY 2013 consisted of $130.9 billion for R&D and $1.6 billion for R&D plant (table 2). The corresponding levels in FY 2014 were $133.1 billion for R&D and $2.6 billion for R&D plant. The President's proposed levels for FY 2015 are $134.0 billion for R&D and $2.5 billion for R&D plant.

Over the past several years, the majority of federal funding for R&D plant has been within the General science and basic research function (table 2). This reflects mainly investment in new and/or upgraded facilities and large-scale equipment for basic research (in various fields) by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy's Office of Science.

TABLE 2. Federal budget authority for R&D and R&D plant, by budget function and funding category: FYs 2005–15
(Millions of current dollars)

ARRA = American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

a Other includes International affairs (150), Commerce and housing credit (370), Community and regional development (450), Education, training, employment, and social services (500), Medicare (570), Income security (600), and Administration of justice (750).
b The Agricultural Research Service received $82 million for R&D plant in FY 2011, but this was offset by $230 million of rescissions in prior-year R&D plant funding.

NOTES: Data show budget information collected through July 2014. Data for FYs 2005–13 are final appropriations. The President's budget for FY 2015 also proposed an additional $5.3 billion for R&D and R&D plant as part of the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative. There is, however, insufficient information to break down this extra package by budget function, and this spending is not included above.

SOURCES: Agencies' submissions to the Office of Management and Budget per MAX Schedule C, agencies' budget justification documents, and supplemental data obtained from agencies' budget offices.

Table 2 Source Data: Excel file

Nondefense
Fiscal year All functions National defense (050) Total General science basic research (251) Space flight research supporting activities (252) Energy (270) Natural resources environment (300) Agriculture (350) Trans- portation (400) Health (550) Veterans benefits services (700) Othera
R&D
2005 actual 126,601 74,047 52,554 6,570 7,300 1,296 2,168 1,820 1,847 28,824 742 1,987
2006 actual 131,624 78,037 53,587 6,691 8,204 1,195 2,120 1,869 1,711 28,797 769 2,231
2007 actual 138,087 82,272 55,815 7,809 9,024 1,893 1,936 1,857 1,361 29,461 820 1,654
2008 actual 140,113 84,713 55,400 8,234 8,323 1,896 2,106 1,864 1,394 29,063 886 1,634
2009 total 156,009 85,166 70,843 11,840 6,891 3,318 2,245 1,935 1,440 40,389 943 1,842
Actual 140,903 84,866 56,037 8,885 6,205 2,014 2,171 1,935 1,336 30,827 943 1,721
ARRA 15,106 300 14,806 2,955 686 1,304 74 0 104 9,562 0 121
2010 actual 146,596 86,517 60,079 9,280 8,232 2,455 2,237 2,043 1,496 31,488 1,034 1,814
2011 actual 142,457 82,972 59,485 9,483 8,398 2,233 2,171 1,916 1,395 30,903 1,160 1,826
2012 actual 141,450 79,559 61,891 9,304 10,661 2,197 2,147 1,920 1,486 31,243 1,160 1,773
2013 actual 130,861 70,620 60,241 8,802 10,476 2,269 2,020 1,753 1,337 30,044 1,164 2,376
2014 preliminary 133,103 70,338 62,765 9,188 10,847 2,379 2,205 2,020 1,348 31,024 1,173 2,581
2015 proposed 134,005 70,319 63,686 9,271 11,053 2,660 2,249 2,076 1,307 31,319 1,178 2,573
R&D plant
2005 actual 4,658 594 4,064 907 2,356 28 77 274 19 305 0 98
2006 actual 4,395 700 3,695 848 2,197 49 99 249 19 135 0 99
2007 actual 3,803 386 3,417 903 1,964 29 160 93 19 120 0 129
2008 actual 4,278 416 3,862 773 2,349 180 96 133 19 149 0 163
2009 total 8,283 476 7,807 2,288 2,169 476 370 314 21 1,662 0 507
Actual 4,650 476 4,174 1,056 2,169 220 200 138 21 162 0 208
ARRA 3,633 0 3,633 1,232 0 256 170 176 0 1,500 0 299
2010 actual 2,366 272 2,094 1,229 0 115 193 163 21 205 0 168
2011 actualb 1,922 254 1,668 1,098 260 32 143 -148 25 87 0 171
2012 actual 2,287 316 1,971 1,232 140 34 153 85 25 168 0 134
2013 actual 1,616 161 1,455 818 0 20 149 65 22 156 0 225
2014 preliminary 2,562 386 2,176 1,019 168 20 173 68 19 172 0 537
2015 proposed 2,452 434 2,018 1,008 71 19 210 67 41 172 0 430

Distribution of Funding, by Budget Function

National defense has typically accounted for half or more of annual federal budget authority for the total of R&D and R&D plant. In FY 2010, National defense was $86.8 billion, or 58.3%, of the $149.0 billion total that year (table 1, table 3). In FY 2013, despite a sizable drop in budget authority to $70.8 billion, the National defense category was still 53.4% of the $132.5 billion total that year.

TABLE 3. Distribution of federal budget authority for R&D and R&D plant budget, by budget function: FYs 2005–15
(Percent)

ARRA = American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

* = amount less than 0.05%; na = not applicable.

ARRA = American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

NOTES: Detail may not add to total because of rounding. Data show budget information collected through July 2014. Data for FYs 2005–13 are final appropriations. The President's budget for FY 2015 also proposed an additional $5.3 billion for R&D and R&D plant as part of the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative. There is, however, insufficient information to break down this extra package by budget function, and this spending is not included above.

SOURCES: Agencies' submissions to the Office of Management and Budget per MAX Schedule C, agencies' budget justification documents, and supplemental data obtained from agencies' budget offices.

Table 3 Source Data: Excel file

2013 rank Budget function 2005 actual 2006 actual 2007 actual 2008 actual 2009 2010 actual 2011 actual 2012 actual 2013 actual 2014 preliminary 2015 proposed
Actual ARRA
All functions conducting R&D 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
1 National defense (050) 56.9 57.9 58.3 59.0 58.6 1.6 58.3 57.6 55.6 53.4 52.1 51.9
2 Health (550) 22.2 21.3 20.8 20.2 21.3 59.0 21.3 21.5 21.9 22.8 23.0 23.1
3 Space flight research and supporting activities (252) 7.4 7.6 7.7 7.4 5.8 3.7 5.5 6.0 7.5 7.9 8.1 8.2
4 General science and basic research (251) 5.7 5.5 6.1 6.2 6.8 22.3 7.2 7.3 7.3 7.3 7.5 7.5
5 Energy (270) 1.0 0.9 1.4 1.4 1.5 8.3 1.7 1.6 1.6 1.7 1.8 2.0
6 Natural resources and environment (300) 1.7 1.6 1.5 1.5 1.7 1.3 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.8 1.8
7 Agriculture (350) 1.6 1.6 1.4 1.4 1.4 0.9 1.5 1.2 1.4 1.4 1.5 1.6
8 Transportation (400) 1.4 1.3 1.0 1.0 0.9 0.6 1.0 1.0 1.1 1.0 1.0 1.0
9 Veterans benefits and services (700) 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.0 0.7 0.8 0.8 0.9 0.9 0.9
10 Commerce and housing credit (370) 0.4 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.4 2.2 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.7
11 Administration of justice (750) 0.6 0.7 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.0 * 0.1 0.1 0.6 0.8 0.7
12 Education training employment and social services (500) 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.1 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
13 International affairs (150) 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.2
14 Medicare (570) na na na na * 0.0 * 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
15 Community and regional development (450) * * * * * 0.0 0.1 0.1 * * * 0.1
16 Income security (600) * * * * * 0.0 0.1 * * * * 0.1

The balance of the budget authority total ($62.2 billion in FY 2010, and $61.7 billion in FY 2013) falls among 15 or more nondefense functional categories. Health is the largest of these—substantially fewer dollars than National defense, but still large, at $30.2 billion (22.8%) in FY 2013. The Space flight, research, and supporting activities and General science and basic research categories are also sizable: $10.5 billion (7.9%) and $9.6 billion (7.3%), respectively, in FY 2013. Energy, Natural resources and environment, Agriculture, Transportation, and Veteran's benefits and services each have budget authority in the range from $1 billion to several billion dollars annually. Budget authority ranges from somewhat under to well under $1 billion annually for the remaining nondefense categories: Education, training, employment, and social services; Commerce and housing credit; International affairs; Administration of justice; Medicare; Community and regional development; and Income security (table 1).

The National defense category has borne the brunt of the declines in the R&D and R&D plant total since FY 2010. National defense dropped from $86.8 billion in FY 2010 to $70.7 billion in FY 2014, while the nondefense total increased modestly from $62.2 billion in FY 2010 to $64.9 billion in FY 2014 (table 1). The effect is more apparent when the dollars are adjusted for inflation, as seen in figure 1, which provides time-series plots for the budget authority total, National defense, and the sum of all the nondefense categories. The nondefense categories account for most of the increase from the ARRA funding in FY 2009 and then remain largely flat over the next five fiscal years.



FIGURE 1. Federal budget authority for R&D and R&D plant, defense and nondefense: FYs 2000–15.

  Figure 1 Source Data: Excel file

Developments in the Largest Budget Functions: FYs 2013–15

National Defense

Budget authority for R&D and R&D plant directed at National defense objectives in FY 2014 totaled $70.7 billion, a slight decrease from $70.8 billion in FY 2013 (table 1, figure 2). The proposed level for FY 2015 rises back to $70.8 billion. By comparison, this category was $86.8 billion in FY 2010. (Note: the data for FY 2015 cited here and thereafter reflect only the President's base funding proposal of $136.5 billion. The added $5.3 billion under OGSI was not spelled out by the President's budget proposal in agency or budget function detail and could not be included.)



Federal budget authority for R&D and R&D plant, change over previous fiscal year: FYs 2012–15.

  Figure 2 Source Data: Excel file

Most of the R&D dollars in the National defense category support military research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) programs at the Department of Defense ($63.3 billion of the $70.8 billion category total in FY 2013, and $62.9 billion of $70.7 billion in FY 2014). The Air Force and Navy have the largest shares, but the Army and several defense agencies (notably the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Missile Defense Agency) are also significantly involved.

R&D on atomic energy defense in the Department of Energy is a smaller but still sizable component of the defense category ($4.2 billion in FY 2013, and $4.4 billion in FY 2014). The two largest elements are weapons activities ($3.0 billion in FY 2013, and $3.1 billion in FY 2013) and development of naval reactors ($0.9 billion in both FY 2013, and $1.1 billion in 2014).

Health

Budget authority for Health R&D and R&D plant in FY 2014 was $31.2 billion (23.0% of the total), nearly $1 billion greater than the $30.2 billion in FY 2013—a 3.3% increase, well ahead of the pace of inflation. The President's proposed funding (base) for FY 2015 is a small increase to $31.5 billion but does not outpace inflation.

The National Institutes of Health is the predominant funder in this category: $28.3 billion in FY 2013, $29.3 billion in FY 2014, and a proposed $29.5 billion in FY 2015. This category also includes the R&D programs of several other Department of Health and Human Services agencies (the Food and Drug Administration, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention); the Consumer Product Safety Commission; and the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Space Flight, Research, and Supporting Activities

Budget authority for Space flight, research, and supporting activities was $11.0 billion in FY 2014, a 5.1% increase (exceeding the pace of inflation) over the FY 2013 level of $10.5 billion. The President's proposed funding level for FY 2015 (base), however, is only slightly higher at $11.1 billion (an increase that falls below the rate of inflation). National Aeronautics and Space Administration programs account for the entire amount. This category's share of the total was 7.9% in FY 2013 and 8.1% in FY 2014. The proposed funding for FY 2015 would put its share of the total at 8.2% (table 3)

General Science and Basic Research

Budget authority for R&D and R&D plant for the General science and basic research category totaled $10.2 billion in FY 2014 and accounted for 7.5% of the total of R&D and R&D plant that year.[3] This was an increase of $0.6 billion over the $9.6 billion level in FY 2013—up by 6.1%, and well ahead of the 1.5% rate of inflation. Nevertheless, it remains below the $10.5 billion level in FY 2010. The level proposed for FY 2015 is an increase to $10.3 billion; although 7.5% of the total, the increase did not surpass the rate of inflation. This category includes mainly the R&D programs of the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy's Office of Science. National Science Foundation programs accounted for $5.3 billion in FY 2013, $5.6 billion in FY 2014, and a proposed $5.6 billion in FY 2015—somewhat over half of the category's budget authority total throughout. The Department of Energy's Office of Science was allotted $4.3 billion in FY 2013, $4.7 billion in FY 2014, and a proposed $4.7 billion in FY 2015.

Energy

Budget authority for R&D and R&D plant in this functional category was $2.4 billion in FY 2014, a small increase over $2.3 billion in FY 2013 but well ahead of the pace of inflation. The President's proposed budget for FY 2015 calls for an increase to $2.7 billion, which also well exceeds inflation. The Department of Energy's various energy programs and the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) account for the vast majority of this category total (just under $2.3 billion in FY 2014). This category also includes smaller R&D funding levels for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Natural Resources and Environment

Budget authority for this category in FY 2014 was $2.4 billion, up from $2.2 billion in FY 2013. The proposed level for FY 2015 is $2.5 billion. Both of the increases exceed the pace of inflation. This functional category includes R&D across a range of purposes: conservation and land management, pollution control and abatement, recreational resources, water resources, and other natural resources. The majority of this funding is associated with R&D programs in the Department of Commerce (chiefly, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration); the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior (mainly, the U.S. Geological Survey, but also the Bureau of Reclamation and National Park Service); and the Department of Agriculture (notably, the Forest Service). The category total also includes R&D activities in the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Agriculture

Budget authority for this category was $2.1 billion in FY 2014, a nearly 15% increase over the $1.8 billion in FY 2013. The proposed level for FY 2015 is somewhat over $2.1 billion—a 2.6% increase, ahead of inflation. This category is composed entirely of Department of Agriculture R&D programs (in particular, the R&D conducted by the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture).

Definitions

Budget authority is the primary source of legal authorization for a federal agency to enter into obligations that will result in outlays.

Budget functions are categories defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) into which all activities funded by the federal budget are classified. There currently are 20 such broad functional categories, most with a number of subfunctions. R&D activities are currently present in 16 of these broad functional categories. The 17 categories discussed in this report include 15 of these broad categories plus one of the broad categories separated into its two subfunctions (see endnote 3 below). For a tally of the federal budget by function and subfunction, see table 5-1 in the Historical Tables section of the President's Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2015 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals/). For a further discussion of the recognition of R&D in these budget functions, see OMB's guidance in Circular A-11, MAX Schedule C, “Research and Development Activities” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/a11_current_year/s84.pdf).

Research and development (R&D) refers to basic research, applied research, and development in the sciences and engineering.

R&D plant refers to the acquisition of, construction of, major repairs to, or alterations in structures, works, equipment, facilities, or land for use in R&D activities.

Data Sources and Availability

The statistics described in this report account for nearly all federally sponsored R&D activities and are based chiefly on information that federal agencies provide to OMB.

The underlying data are tabulated for the National Science Foundation by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and reflect federal budget information collected and analyzed through July 2014. The data through FY 2013 are final appropriations. The statistics for FY 2014 draw on the federal budget as enacted by Congress in January 2014 (through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014) and on estimates of agency spending plans. Accordingly, these budget numbers are marked “preliminary.” The figures for FY 2015 draw mainly from the President's proposed budget of the U.S. government for FY 2015 (publicly released 4 March 2014), but these figures also include subsequent information from the executive branch and agency budget offices. As a result, the budget numbers for individual activities, programs, or agencies may differ from those published in the President's proposed budget or agency budget documents.

A full set of detailed tables on federal budget authority for R&D in FYs 2013 and 2014 and also the President's proposed levels for FY 2015 are available in a companion statistical report, Federal R&D Funding, by Budget Function: Fiscal Years 2013–15, accessible at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/fedbudget/. For more information, contact the author.

Notes

[1] Mark Boroush, Research and Development Statistics Program, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965, Arlington, VA 22230 (mboroush@nsf.gov; 703-292-8726).

[2] The President's proposed Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative is described in fuller detail in Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2015 (March 2014). See, in particular, http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/presidents-message and http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/opportunity.pdf

[3]The Office of Management and Budget's broad category of General science, space, and technology (250) divides into a pair of subfunctions: General science and basic research (251) and Space flight, research, and supporting activities (252). Given the intrinsic differences in these two R&D endeavors and the significant public interest in each, these subfunctions are discussed separately in this report. Furthermore, despite the General science and basic research title, not all basic research funded by the federal government is classified in this single category. Federal funding for basic research arises in other functional categories—such as National defense or Health—and is included in the category funding totals there.