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NSF: 2006 R&D Spending Up, But Growth Rate Slows

April 23, 2007

The National Science Foundation (NSF) projects U.S. spending for R&D in 2006 will be 6 percent higher than it was in 2005, once all figures are compiled for all sources of funds surveyed: industry, the federal government, universities, colleges and other nonprofit institutions. (Note: State sources of funds are captured only through the separate surveys of industrial and university performers.) Total 2006 U.S. R&D expenditures are expected to surpass $342.9 billion, up $19 billion from 2005.

Estimated figures for 2005 were 7.8 percent higher than 2004 in current dollars, NSF reports in its April 2007 InfoBrief. Accounting for inflation increases the difference between 2005 and 2006 growth rates even more, as inflation picked up speed in 2006. Increases in R&D spending outpaced inflation in both years, however. The 2005 figures are 5 percent greater than 2004 after inflation, while 2006 is only 3.5 percent higher than 2005. 

NSF notes the increase in real R&D in 2006 primarily reflected growth in R&D performed by for-profit companies operating in the U.S. R&D performed by the federal government declined by $800 million over 2005 estimates, while industrial R&D grew by more than $9 billion.

The InfoBrief is available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf07317/