• Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

NCSES report finds that U.S. R&D increased by about $41 billion in 2020

June 28, 2022
By: Emily Chesser

Total R&D in the U.S. grew from $666.9 billion in 2019 to an estimated $708 billion in 2020, according to recent data from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) examination of R&D performance in the United States over the past two decades. These findings follow additional trends in the report demonstrating the expanding R&D occurring in the U.S.

Additional metrics explored in the NCSES data are national R&D intensity, R&D to GDP ratio, and R&D by performer, source, and type. The report found that R&D intensity has been steadily growing by an average of 3.8 percent annually from 2010 to 2019, a significant increase from the previous decade, where the average annual growth rate was 2.1 percent. The R&D to GDP ratio was 3.12 percent in 2019 and is estimated to be about 3.39 percent in 2020. A ratio above 3.0 percent is recognized by R&D policy analysts as a high achievement.

Analysis of R&D performers in the U.S. found that the business sector continues to be the most significant R&D performer in the nation. In 2019, industry accounted for 75 percent of domestic R&D, consistent with previous averages over the past two decades. The report found that in addition to being the primary performer of R&D, industry is also the primary funder for R&D. Funding from businesses accounted for 72 percent of R&D in 2019; funding from the federal government accounted for 20 percent.

The report also explored different types of R&D, separated into basic research, applied research, and experimental development. The portion of each kind of R&D in the U.S. did not fluctuate much in the two-decade period.

The complete National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics report and data can be accessed here.

r&d, report