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Top 30 Research Universities Accounted for Over 40% of Total Academic R&D FY11 Spending

December 05, 2012

In FY11, the top 30 U.S. research universities accounted for over 40 percent (approximately $26.1 billion) of total academic R&D spending in 2011, according to survey data collected by the National Science Foundation. The other 882 universities surveyed accounted for approximately $39 billion of the total academic R&D spending for the 2011 fiscal year (approximately $65.1B billion). The Higher Education Research and Development Survey population also increased from 742 universities in 2010 to 912 in 2011. These universities added approximately $533 million in total R&D expenditures.

The federal government remained the primary funder of academic R&D spending and increased from FY 2010 total. Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was responsible for much of the increase, with ARRA-funded expenditures totaling $4.2 billion in FY11. Among the nonfederal sources of funding, only nonprofit organizations and academic institutions themselves contributed more in FY11 than in FY10. R&D expenditures by state and local government, business and other sources virtually were unchanged.

NSF collects data in 10 broad categories — including life sciences, engineering and computer sciences — and each of them saw an increase in funding from 2010. The largest increases were in non-science and engineering research (10.5 percent increase from 2010), engineering (7.7 percent) and mathematical sciences (7.4 percent). Life sciences continued to dominate among the 10 broad fields collected, attracting almost $37.2 billion in FY11.

There were only two changes to the top 30 between FY 2010 and FY 2011. The University of Southern California moved from number 28 to 31, and Harvard University entered the top 30 (now ranked number 27). Six institutions now report over $1 billion each in R&D spending, up from four in FY 2010. The top five research universities remained the same led by Johns Hopkins, the University of Michigan, the University of Washington, the University of Wisconsin and Duke University. Read the InfoBrief..

higher ed, r&d, nsf