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Useful Stats: Higher Education R&D by State and Institution

January 04, 2024
By: Conor Gowder

The United States is home to some of the world's most prestigious universities, each performing critical research that helps advance the country’s innovation economy. However, these universities are not evenly distributed across the country; many are concentrated within large cities in states where their spillover further impacts the local economies.

This edition of Useful Stats explores Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey data from the newest fiscal year (FY) 2022 data release. Specifically, a state and institution-level look at HERD expenditures over the last decade of available data will be conducted to explore any trends.


State-level trends in HERD

Research and development (R&D) expenditures neared $100 billion across the U.S. in FY 2022, a 9% increase from FY 2021’s $89.8 billion and a 46% increase from FY 2013’s $67.1 billion.

Twenty-seven states had higher education R&D expenditures totaling over $1 billion in FY 2022, while an additional nine states and Washington, D.C. had less than a billion but more than half a million. The remaining 14 states and Puerto Rico had between $100-500 million in HERD expenditures.

California had the highest HERD expenditures of any state or territory at $12.1 billion—over 12% of the national total—while New York and Texas followed behind with $8.3 and $7.4 billion, respectively. Two additional states, Pennsylvania and Maryland, were the only others with over $5 billion in HERD expenditures.

Figure 1, below, shows a map of the U.S. with total HERD values by state for the past decade of available data.

Figure 1: HERD expenditures by state, FY 2013-2022.


Twenty-three states experienced double-digit increases in their HERD values from FY2021 to FY2022, led by Delaware (56%) and Wyoming (50%). South Dakota, Maine, and Alaska followed, with year-over-year growths of 17%, 16%, and 15% respectively.

Every state and Washington, D.C. saw increased higher education R&D expenditures from FY 2021-2022, while Puerto Rico decreased by 17%.

Looking further back, across the 10-years from FY 2013-2022, 47 states and Washington, D.C. experienced an increase in HERD expenditures, while two states—Rhode Island and Hawaii—and Puerto Rico decreased. South Dakota’s higher education R&D expenditures increased by $7,000, a near insignificant amount given the scale.

Much of Rhode Island's decrease in HERD expenditures is due to a 28% decrease from FY 2016-2017, from which it has increased an average of 7% each year since. On the other hand, Hawaii’s decrease appears to be steady, averaging minus 1% each year since 2013 and increasing just twice.

Wyoming (113%), Nevada (104%), and Delaware (101%) had the most significant 10-year increases and were the only states that grew by over 100%. Eighteen additional states had increases of at least 50%, while another 26 states and Washington, D.C. grew by over 20%.

NOTE: This analysis does not include data on Guam or the Virgin Islands, which had HERD expenditures totaling $20.5 and $20.3 million, respectively, in FY 2022.


Institution-level trends in HERD

While the state-level trends in HERD are important, it is easy to forget that each institution, acting independently, is the one on the ground responsible for these metrics. Exploring the institutions with the highest HERD values may reveal clustering or spread across geographic regions, providing insight into the concentration and health of a state. This section will explore the 50 institutions of higher education with the highest FY 2022 HERD expenditures, from FY 2013-2022.

The 50 universities with the highest expenditures on higher education R&D totaled $56.7 billion—58% of all HERD in FY 2022.

Twenty-nine higher education institutions had HERD values totaling over $1 billion in FY 2022. Johns Hopkins University had the highest R&D expenditure at $3.4 billion, over $1.6 billion more than the next institution. The University of California, San Francisco was the second largest at $1.8 billion, followed by the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with just under $1.8 billion each.

It is important to note that Johns Hopkins’ HERD value includes the Applied Physics Laboratory, which is responsible for $2 billion of the institution’s $3.4 billion. However, even when subtracting the Applied Physics Laboratory’s expenditures, Johns Hopkins would still rank 11th in FY 2022.

Figure 2 maps out the 50 top higher education institutions by FY 2022 HERD expenditures over the past 10 years of available data. More information about each can be found by scrolling over the points on the map.

Figure 2: Higher education R&D expenditures of the FY 2022 top 50 institutions ranked by total expenditures.


The top 50 institutions ranked by FY 2022 HERD expenditures span 25 states.

California is home to the greatest number of top-50 institutions, with seven totaling over $9 billion in HERD, accounting for 75% of the state’s and 9% of the total HERD value.

Five of the top 50 institutions are in Texas, four in New York, and three in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Eight additional states contain two, while 12 others contain one each.

Refer to Figure 2 and the HERD data release for more information.

More SSTI coverage of the FY 2022 HERD release on overall trends and a breakdown of the R&D field and source of funds can be found at their respective links.

useful stats, higher ed, r&d