Science & Research

The U.S. Federal Government provided $105.4 billion for R&D activities in FY 2004. Over the decade ending FY 2004, federal commitments for R&D grew at an average annual rate of 4.3%.

Federal agencies provided 42.5% ($22.7 billion) of their total research dollars to universities and colleges, 22.6% ($12.1 billion) to intramural performers (i.e., in-house or other federal agencies), and 12.7% ($6.8 billion) to industry. The remainder was divided among federally funded research and development centers, nonprofit organizations, state governments, and foreign institutes. Federal obligations for research grew at an average annual rate of 6.9%. Research in life sciences accounted for 52.0% ($27.7 billion) of total federal research dollars in FY 2004. Engineering was a distant second, accounting for 16.6% ($8.9 billion).

Basic research accounted for almost 25% ($26.1 billion) of total R&D funding in FY 2004. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided 56.5% ($14.8 billion) of basic research support, mainly from National Institutes of Health (NIH). The National Science Foundation (NSF) provided the next largest proportion (13.4%, or $3.5 billion), followed by the Department of Energy (DOE) at 10.2% ($2.7 billion). Applied research accounted for 25.8% ($27.2 billion) of total R&D and R&D plant funding in FY 2004. The three top funding agencies were HHS, Defense (DOD), and Energy (DOE).

The DOD accounted for most of the total federal development funding ($41.4 billion), due mostly to Defense’s major systems development projects. Subtracting those dollars, DOD’s share of development was 45.9%; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was the second largest supporter, with $2.7 billion; and DOE was the third largest, accounting for $2.1 billion of total development, excluding major systems.

Source: National Science Foundation, 2007 report

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