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U.S. Funds for Science Rose 9% in 2003

September 6, 2005

The federal government obligated $26.656 billion for science and engineering to colleges and universities in 2003, an increase of 9.1 percent over the previous year and the largest amount ever, according to a National Science Foundation report released Friday.

Most of the $2.225 billion increase in total funds came in the form of a spike in money for research and development, which rose to $22.811 billion in 2003from $21.155 billion in 2002. Funds for research and development facilities more than doubled, while facilities for science instruction declined, as seen in the following table:

Federal Obligations for Academic Science and Engineeering, 2002-3 (in millions)

Activity Fiscal 2003 Fiscal 2002 % change, current dollars % change, 2000 dollars
Total academic science and engineering obligations $26,656 $24,431 9.1 7.2
Research and development 22,811 21,155 7.8 5.9
R&D plant 727 301 141.2 137.0
Facilities, equipment for science   instruction 80 110 -26.8 -28.1
Fellowships, traineeships and training grants 950 937 1.4 -0.4
General support, science and engineering 429 432 -0.7 -2.4
Other science and engineering activities 1,660 1,496 10.9 9.0

Much of the overall increase in federal obligations was driven by a big boost in funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, to $15,876 in 2003, up from $14.493 the year before. In 2003, Congress completed a five-year campaign to double spending on the National Institutes of Health, which is part of HHS.

2003 Federal Obligations for Science, by Agency (in millions)

Agency Fiscal 2003 Fiscal 2002 % change, current dollars % change,  2000 dollars
All agencies $26,656 $24,431 9.1 7.2
Health and Human Services 15,876 14,493 9.5 7.6
National Science Foundation 3,954 3,582 10.4 8.5
Defense 2,528 2,317 9.1 7.2
National Aeronautics and Space Administration 1,263 1,244 1.5 -0.3
Agriculture 1,145 1,086 5.4 3.6
Energy 761 736 3.4 1.6
Other agencies 1,129 973 16.0 14.0

 
As usual, Johns Hopkins University led the way among academic institutions in federal obligations; the university's numbers are buttressed by federal support for its Applied Physics Laboratory. The top 20 universities largely held constant, as 19 of the 20 institutions in 2002 stayed there in 2003. The only exception was Boston University, which moved to 17th from 32nd in 2002. Boston benefited from a huge (but one-time) increase in NIH spending on academic facilities; that $128 million accounted for most of its $153 boost in funds.

BU bumped Cornell, which was 19th in 2002, out of the top 20.

Federal Science and Engineering Obligations to Universities, 2002-3 (in millions)

Institution 2003 funds 2002 funds 2003 rank 2002 rank
Johns Hopkins U. $1,137.4 $1,136.5 1 1
U. of Washington 631.1 576.7 2 2
U. of Michigan 520.8 456.8 3 4
U. of Pennsylvania 495.3 479.9 4 3
U. of Calfornia at Los Angeles 475.7 439.8 5 5
Stanford U. 467.2 409.1 6 6
U. of California at San Diego 466.5 408.7 7 7
U. of Wisconsin at Madison 422.1 393.6 8 8
Washington U. in St. Louis 419.0 381.5 9 10
Columbia U. 412.7 372.9 10 11
Duke U. 412.1 355.3 11 14
U. of Pittsburgh 394.7 351.4 12 15
U. of California at San Francisco 393.1 386.9 13 9
Harvard U. 384.9 356.5 14 13
U. of Colorado 367.9 358.4 15 12
Yale U. 349.6 334.4 16 16
Boston U. 347.2 198.0 17 32
Pennsylvania State U. at University Park 345.9 317.8 18 20
U. Minnesota 345.8 326.5 19 19
U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 344.6 329.0 20 17

 

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