Federally funded R&D centers increase R&D expenditures by billions

The United States' 42 federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) received a record $26 billion in federal government funding in fiscal year 2022 — a nearly 6% increase compared to the previous year. FFRDCs expended $26.5 billion on R&D in FY 2022, marking the ninth consecutive year of nominal growth. On average, FFRDCs have increased R&D expenditures by 1.3% per annum since 2012. Yet when looking at only the three most recent years of available data, from FY 2020-2022, this average drops to just 0.4%.

White House R&D priorities include new focus on regional innovation; other priorities slightly shift

A memo sent out last week by the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy outlines this year’s R&D priorities. Federal science agencies will use this memo to design their budget requests for the fiscal year 2025.

Useful Stats: US leads the world in GDP, falls behind in R&D intensity

With a GDP of over $23 trillion in 2021, the United States has the world's largest economy, according to the latest available data from the World Bank. Yet, the U.S. falls behind such countries as Israel and Korea when it comes to how much is spent on research and development (R&D) in proportion to GDP. For example, Israel and Korea spend 5.56% and 4.93% of their GDP on R&D compared to the U.S.’ 3.46%.

China biting at US heels in R&D spending

A report from ITIF warns that China is catching up with the U.S. in private R&D funding. If this trend continues, China could surpass the U.S. in innovation in nine critical advanced technology sectors: aerospace and defense, electronic and electrical equipment, general industrials, industrial engineering, pharmaceutical and biotechnology, software and computer services, technology and hardware equipment, alternative energy, and automobiles and parts.

GAO examines flexibilities intended to speed up DOD R&D

The Department of Defense (DOD) receives about $95 billion annually to support research and development efforts. But some members of Congress feared that requesting and allocating those funds took too long. It usually takes two years, which hinders response to evolving threats. The Senate addressed this issue in the Senate Report on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, calling for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review DOD research funding flexibilities. GAO reports that service officials responsible for R&D efforts were not familiar with all of the flexibilities available to them.

R&D funding remains stable, but sources fluctuate

Over the past two decades, business has done most of the heavy lifting for research and development (R&D) funding. Calculated in the dollar value of 2012, business funding increased from $10.4 billion in 2000 to an estimated $36.0 billion in 2021.

NSF expands its advanced materials network with nine new centers

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is expanding a network of research centers across the country to translate university-based R&D into new, and hopefully, better advanced materials. In late June, NSF announced the distribution of $162 million to support the creation of nine more Materials Research Science & Engineering Centers (MRSECs), bringing the total number of centers to twenty. Each of the new centers will receive $18 million over six years.

Congress moves erratically on budget, tax issues

The House and Senate are working toward FY 2024 appropriations, but not even a negotiated agreement has kept the chambers moving in the same direction. Today, the Senate appropriations committee directed its subcommittees to produce bills that align with the slight reduction in non-defense spending agreed to in the debt ceiling agreement reached earlier this month. However, after House Freedom Caucus members revolted over the agreement, the House appropriations committee decided to direct its subcommittees to produce bills  that cut another $119 billion from the level agreed to as part of the debt ceiling deal.

NIST Announces staff for CHIPS R&D Office, potentially three future institutes

Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director Laurie E. Locascio announced five leaders joining the CHIPS Research and Development Office within CHIPS for America.

Innovation landscapes: The changing role of corporate research

Corporate laboratories were hotspots for U.S. innovation for most of the twentieth century. Large firms, such as DuPont or Bell Labs, acted as epicenters for research and development activities, driving investment in frontier technologies underserved by university researchers at the time. By the 1980s, however, many of these powerhouses of industrial research began to cut back on their research programs, paving the way for universities and startups to emerge as new centers of innovation.


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