Illinois governor proposes $500 million match for public-private research institute

In an effort to support research collaboration among the state’s largest universities, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed FY 2019 capital budget would provide $500 million for the University of Illinois Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago’s South Loop. The funds would serve as a state match for private donations from individuals, corporations, and other entities.

State governments help spur investments in R&D

Expenditures for R&D from state government agencies increased by 17.3 percent from FY 2011 to FY 2016, reaching $2.3 billion, according to data from the Survey of State Government Research and Development, a survey sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). Nearly two-thirds of this total – 64 percent – came from just five state governments (California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Ohio).

For first time, American R&D expenditures surpass $500 billion

Estimates indicate that R&D expenditures in the United States reached $510 billion in 2016, marking the first time this total has eclipsed the half-trillion mark, according to recently released National Science Foundation data. The majority of R&D expenditures and performance comes from the private sector. From 2011 to 2016, R&D growth kept pace with the economy as a whole, and R&D intensity – measured as R&D expenditures as a share of gross domestic product – was essentially flat. The analysis finds, though, that federal expenditures on R&D decreased during this period.

Useful Stats: R&D expenditures at colleges and universities, by state

Last week, The Digest covered newly released data from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science Education Statistics, which found that for the first time in five years, federal funding for higher education research and development increased in both current and constant dollars. For the country as a whole, higher education R&D expenditures increased by roughly 10 percent from FY 2011 to FY 2016, while gross domestic product increased by nearly twice as much. This article examines state-by-state trends in R&D activity at colleges at universities.

After 4-years of decline, universities report increased federal R&D funding for FY 2016

For the first time in five years, federal funding for higher education research and development increased in both current and constant dollars, according to recently released data from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics within the National Science Foundation. In FY 2016, universities reported $72.0 billion in total R&D expenditures, a 4.8 percent increase from FY 2015. Of this amount, more than half (54 percent) came from the federal government. Institutionally financed research represented 16 percent, the second largest source of R&D funds at universities in FY 2016.

SSTI commentary: What is a fair share of R&D? A closer look at benchmarking

Would you expect a community of 100,000 people to have less than one-half as much R&D activity as a community with 250,000 residents? Such a simple question cannot be considered without more information. You may ask which two communities are being compared. Would your answer be different if you learned the smaller community was a college town with a research-intensive university as its core economic engine, while the second community was largely a distribution hub and didn’t have a similar R&D asset?*  Yet politicians, pundits, media and even policymakers often benchmark cities, regions and states on incomplete or irrelevant  information.

Business R&D performed in US increases

In 2015, businesses spent 4.4 percent more on R&D performed in the U.S. than they did in 2014, reaching $356 billion total, the NSF reports. Of the total R&D expenditures in 2015, companies spent $22 billion (6 percent) on basic research, $56 billion (16 percent) on applied research, and $278 billion (78 percent) on development.

Administration R&D memo emphasizes basic science

The White House Office of Management and Budget released a memorandum on R&D priorities that directs agencies to prioritize basic science and lower costs in their FY 2019 budget requests. R&D investments should be made in military superiority, security, prosperity, energy dominance and health. The memo repeatedly encourages officials to identify, and divest of, research areas where industry is ready to make their own investments toward commercial development.

Federal science & engineering support to universities declines

At least 1,016 academic institutions across the U.S.  received federal support for a range of science and engineering functions in FY 2015, according to the latest survey from National Science Foundation. While the total was up slightly from the 1,003 institutions reported in the previous year, NSF also found that larger community divided a federal pie that was 3 percent or $900 million less than 2014, in constant dollars.  The FY 2015 total figure of $27,747 million was 6 percent less than the 2012 total of $29,580 million, also in constant dollars. 

ARPA-E successful in short term, needs longer life

Although it has been slated for elimination under the president’s proposed budget, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program is making progress toward achieving its statutory mission and goals, and it “cannot reasonably be expected to have completely fulfilled those goals given so few years of operation and the size of its budget.” That is among the findings released this week by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) in its assessment of ARPA-E. The project was overseen by the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) and was tasked with assessing ARPA-E’s progress toward achieving its statutory mission and goals, and determining whether it is on a trajectory to achieve them. In short, the answer is that it is.


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