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Science Spending Edged Up in 2008

October 2, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Colleges and universities spent a total of $51.9 billion on research development in the 2008 fiscal year, with the federal government providing by far the biggest -- but a declining -- share of the total.

Those were among the findings of data from an annual survey by the National Science Foundation released Thursday.

The federal government has long been the biggest funder of academic R&D, but its share had been slowly dropping in recent years after climbing through the early part of this decade, as the federal government ramped up its spending on biomedical research, particularly. (When the NSF reports on data for 2009 and 2010 in the years ahead, though, the federal share is likely to show an increase again, given the extra funds the government has provided through the economic recovery package this year.)

To keep the academic research machine pumping, other contributors -- including states and industry -- have turned up their spending, with the institutions themselves leading the way, as seen in the table below:

Science and Engineering R&D Expenditures, 2003-8 (in millions)

  2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Total expenditures $40,100 $43,258 $45,799 $47,751 $49,554 $51,909
Sources of Funds            
Federal Government 24,771 27,644 29,209 30,129 30,458 31,231
State and Local Government 2,647 2,879 2,940 2,962 3,143 3,418
Industry 2,162 2,129 2,291 2,402 2,680 2,870
Institutional funds 7,664 7,753 8,266 9,062 9,748 10,435
Other 2,857 2,852 3,093 3,196 3,525 3,954
Type of Work            
Basic Research 30,121 31,968 34,368 36,096 37,842 39,408
Applied Research
and Development
9,979 11,290 11,432 11,656 11,712 12,501

Source: National Science Foundation

The NSF report also lists the top 20 institutions in terms of research expenditures, as seen in the table below. They accounted for about a third of the total expenditures by all institutions. As is true perennially, Johns Hopkins easily outdistances all other institutions because of its Applied Physics Laboratory, which accounts for more than about half of its expenditures.

Institutions Spending the Most on R&D (in millions)

    2007 2008
1 Johns Hopkins U. $1,554 $1,681
2 U. of California at San Francisco 843 885
3 U. of Wisconsin at Madison 841 882
4 U. of Michigan (all campuses) 809 876
5 U. of California at Los Angeles 823 871
6 U. of California at San Diego 799 842
7 Duke U. 782 767
8 U. of Washington 757 765
9 U. of Pennsylvania 648 708
10 Ohio State U. (all campuses) 720 703
11 Pennsylvania State U. (all campuses) 652 701
12 Stanford U. 688 688
13 U. of Minnesota (all campuses) 624 683
14 Mass. Institute of Technology 614 660
15 Cornell U. (all campuses) 642 654
16 U. of California at Davis 601 643
17 U. of Pittsburgh (all campuses) 559 596
18 U. of California at Berkeley 552 592
19 U. of Florida 593 584
20 Texas A&M U. 544 582

 

 

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