Preliminary Report: R&D Spending Fell In FY 1996
Federal funding for research and development (R&D)
dropped 3% in FY 1996, according to a preliminary report by NSF's Division
of Science Resources Studies (SRS).
Using statistics from NSF's Annual Survey of Federal Funds for R&D,
SRS found that the Federal government's 1996 financial obligation to
R&D and R&D plant (facilities and equipment) dropped from $73
billion in FY 1995 to $71 billion. In addition, the 1996 survey of
32 Federal agencies captured more detail than earlier surveys, dividing
the development funding of the Department of Defense (DOD) into two
categories: major systems development and advanced technologies.
"Development has never been split out into these components before," says
report author and analyst Ronald L. Meeks. "DOD wanted it split apart
so that there could be a more accurate comparison with other agencies.
Parts of the DOD development activities are completely defense related
and parts have dual usage."
Researchers found that DOD is the top spender of the 32 Federal agencies
surveyed. DOD is expected to spend $34 billion on all R&D and R&D
plant activities in FY 1996.
When looking at development alone, DOD is still the top spender. The
agency will obligate a total of $30 billion. Most (87%) of this will
go to the category of major systems development. And most of that category
(95%) will be provided by the three armed services and the Ballistic
Missile Defense Organization.
In the second category, advanced technology
development, DOD will provide $4 billion, down $0.8 billion from FY
In addition, the report found that most Federal assistance was concentrated
into a few agencies. "Seven Federal agencies, out of 32 that report
to the R&D survey, are expected to account for 92 percent ($66
billion) of total Federal funding for R&D and R&D plant in
FY 1996," Meeks writes.
In order of funding magnitude, these seven agencies are: Department
of Defense, Health and Human Services, National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation,
Department of Agriculture,and Department of Commerce.
The NSF survey and the resulting data brief were completed based on
data that agencies delivered to the White House in February 1996--the
midway point for the fiscal year, says Meeks. The data do not reflect
changes to the budget made more recently.
For a copy of this data brief, call SRS at (703) 292-8774 or visit
NSF's Web site: http://www.nsf.gov.