Federal spending on university research and development declined in real dollars in 2006 for the first time in nearly 25 years, the National Science Foundation said in a report Thursday.
An estimate released by the foundation in April had anticipated a 6.0 rise in federal support for academic R&D, well above the rate of inflation. But the report released Thursday, which represents much firmer and near final numbers, finds instead that funds increased by 2.9 percent, to $30.03 billion, which represented a 0.1 percent decline in inflation-adjusted dollars. The last such decrease occurred in 1982,
the report said.
NSF officials attributed the leveling off of federal support to the end of many years of massive increases in financing from the National Institutes of Health.
Over all, though, colleges and universities reported a 4.3 percent increase in research and development expenditures in science and engineering in 2006, to $47.8 billion. That increase, which represented a rise of 1.2 percent after inflation, was driven particularly by hefty growth in the institutions' own spending, which climbed to $9.062 billion from $8.258 billion in 2005, an uptick of about 10 percent.
The report also provided a look at top institutions' individual spending, as seen in the table below. A few changes occurred in the top 20, with the University of Arizona moving into the list and Columbia University, which had been found there for the first time in 2005, leaving it again. The University of Florida may have experienced the most growth in recent years, rising 10 spots since 2004, the NSF said.
Top 20 Institutions in Research and Development Expenditures, 2005 and 2006
|Institution||2005 (millions)||2006 (millions)|
|1||Johns Hopkins U.||1,444||1,500|
|2||U. of Wisconsin at Madison||798||832|
|3||U. of California at Los Angeles||786||811|
|4||U. of Michigan campuses||809||800|
|5||U. of California at San Francisco||754||796|
|6||U. of Washington||708||778|
|7||U. of California at San Diego||721||755|
|9||U. of Pennsylvania||655||676|
|11||Ohio State U.||609||652|
|13||Pennsylvania State U.||626||644|
|14||Mass. Institute of Technology||581||601|
|15||U. of Minnesota||549||595|
|16||U. of California at Davis||547||573|
|17||U. of Florida||531||565|
|18||Washington U. in St. Louis||532||548|
|19||U. of California at Berkeley||555||546|
|20||U. of Arizona||530||536|