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R&D Expenditures Top $200 Billion in 1997

December 12, 1997

Research and development expenditures in 1997 are expected to reach $205.7 billion, a 6.5 percent increase over 1996's $193.2 billion in spending. Since 1994, R&D spending has been increasing at a rate of more than 5 percent a year, according to a recent National Science Foundation Data Brief.

The federal share of the nation's R&D expenditures is expected to continue declining -- to 30.5 percent of R&D expenditures. The federal share of the nation's R&D funds first fell below 50 percent in 1978 and was consistently between 44 and 47 percent from 1980 to 1990. Since then, the federal share has dropped steadily.

Industry has provided the greatest share of total support for R&D since 1980 and will continue to do so in 1997. Expenditures by industry are expected to reach $133.3 billion (64.8 percent of all expenditures). Of that total, virtually all (97.9 percent) of the funds are used by industry. The remainder goes to academic institutions and other nonprofit organizations.

The remaining R&D expenditures are made by academic institutions, state and local governments, and other non-profit institutions.

Of the $205.7 billion in R&D expenditures in 1997, 15.2 percent ($31.2 billion) is expected to be spent on basic research, 22.5 percent ($46.2 billion) on applied research, and 62.4 percent ($128.3 billion) on development.

Copies of the Data Brief (NSF 97-328), "R&D Exceeds Expectations Again, Growing Faster than the U.S. Economy during the Last Three Years," can be found on the National Science Foundation's Division of Science Resource Studies' website at http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/databrf/db.htm.