Private investment in basic research tops $2.3 billion

March 02, 2017

Private funders invested more than $2.3 billion in basic research at 34 universities and eight research institutions in 2016, with more than 84 percent of funds going to research in the life sciences, according to the Survey of Private Funding for Basic Research. The Science Philanthropy Alliance, a nonprofit organization founded in 2012 to support philanthropic investments in basic scientific research, conducts the survey – now in its second year.  Funding for basic research at the 26 institutions that completed the survey in both 2015 and 2016 increased by 28 percent, the survey finds.  

It is worth noting, however, that current private investment in basic research is considerably less than both federal obligations for basic research ($38 billion in FY 2015, according to the National Science Foundation), as well as private obligations for other university-related activities ($41 billion in 2016 according to the Council for Aid to Education.)