Earlier this week, the National Science Foundation released updated survey data on investments in Research and Development (R&D) by the Business sector, Higher Education organizations, Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs), Federally Funded Research and Development (R&D) Centers, and federal and non-federal governments.
Of the estimated $656 billion invested in 2019,
- 16% was in Basic Research,
- 19% was in Applied Research, and
- 65% was in Development.
The Business sector continues to out-invest the U.S. Government at a forecasted rate of 330% in 2019. The Business sector is also the primary investor in Applied Research and Development nationally. For nearly 15 years, the difference between Business sector and U.S. Government investments has widened annually.
According to the survey data, California leads the nation in amount of R&D work performed accounting for approximately 28% of all R&D expenditures in the country. New Mexico leads the nation by R&D Intensity, which is the ratio of total R&D expenditures in a state to its GDP.
In terms of Science and Engineering outputs, as measured in published articles, the U.S. continues to lose pace against China and the European Union. In 1996, the U.S. accounted for 31% of all Science and Engineering articles published worldwide. In 2018, the U.S. was responsible for only 17% of articles published, where as the European Union accounted for 24% and China 21%.
In Basic Research, an estimated $96.5 billion was invested and the top three investors were:
- Federal government - 46%;
- Business sector - 34%; and
- Higher education - 14%.
Leadership of the U.S. Business sector in Applied Research and Development investments is pronounced. Of the estimated $124.8 billion invested in Applied Research, the top sources of funding were:
- Business - 55%;
- Federal government - 33%; and
- Higher Education and NPOs - 5%, each.
For Development activities, the order of the top investment sources was the same, although Business sector dominance is even more apparent. Of the estimated $423 billion, the breakdown is
- Business - 86%;
- Federal government - 13%; and
- Higher Education and NPOs - 1%, each.
The trends in national R&D investments speaks to the importance of the Sea Land Air Military Research initiative (SLAMR) and the Joint Interagency Field Experimentation Program (JIFX). JIFX provides a quarterly venue for Business sector, Academia, NPOs, and state and federal government agencies to collaboratively develop autonomous systems, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, sensors and sensor networks, digital enterprise, and other technologies. SLAMR provides a thread for global S&T community members between JIFX events, as well as its own suite of all-domain R&D environments, Business Relationship Innovation, and Digital Enterprise R&D.
Click National R&D Investment Trends 1953-2019 for a copy of the overview.