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Fueled by businesses, US R&D performance eclipses half-trillion dollar mark in 2016 and 2017

March 07, 2019

For the first time, total research and development performed in the United States has surpassed $500 billion, reaching $515.3 billion in 2016, a $22 billion (4.4 percent) increase from the previous year, according to a recent info brief from the National Science Foundation. Furthermore, NSF estimates that larger increases are ahead, with early projections for 2017 showing an additional $26.9 billion increase (5.2 percent). Business R&D, which represented 72.7 percent of the nation’s total in 2016, was the main driver of the growth between 2015 and 2016: 87.3 percent of new R&D performed in the U.S. during those years was from the private sector. Intramural federal research performance was the only segment to see declines between 2015 and 2016, according to the brief.