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Universities Report Highest-Ever R&D Spending of $65 Billion in FY 2011

NSF 13-305 | November 2012 | PDF format. PDF  
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by Ronda Britt[1]

University spending on research and development in all fields continued to increase between FY 2010 and FY 2011, rising 6.3% from $61.2 billion to $65.1 billion, according to FY 2011 data from the National Science Foundation's Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey (figure 1). When adjusted for inflation, higher education R&D rose by 4.3% in FY 2011. It should be noted that the survey population also increased from 742 universities in 2010 to 912 universities in 2011. These new units added $533 million in total R&D expenditures in FY 2011. (See "Data Sources, Limitations, and Availability" for more information.)



FIGURE 1. Higher education R&D expenditures, by source of funds: FY 2010–11.

  Figure 1 Source Data: Excel file

Once again, funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was responsible for much of the increase, with ARRA-funded expenditures totaling $4.2 billion in FY 2011. ARRA funding represented 10.2% of the federally funded R&D expenditures for FY 2011. Including ARRA funding, the total federal funding for higher education R&D rose to $40.8 billion in FY 2011, or 62.6% of the $65.1 billion total.

Among the nonfederal sources of funding, only nonprofit organizations and the academic institutions themselves contributed more in FY 2011 than in FY 2010 (figure 1). Institution-funded R&D rose by over $500 million to $12.4 billion, and nonprofit-funded R&D increased by a more modest $104 million to $3.8 billion in FY 2011. Expenditures funded by state and local government, business, and other sources were virtually unchanged.

Unless otherwise indicated, references to dollar amounts or percentages in this InfoBrief are in current dollars.

R&D Expenditures by Field and Source of Funding

Life sciences continued to dominate among the 10 broad fields collected, growing 6.6% to $37.2 billion in FY 2011 (table 1). The majority of the funding ($20.4 billion) was spent within the subfield of medical sciences. Engineering was the next largest broad field and increased 7.7% in FY 2011 to $10.0 billion in reported R&D expenditures. Social sciences grew by 2.7% in FY 2011 to $2.0 billion, almost returning to its FY 2009 total after a decline in FY 2010. R&D within non-science and engineering (non-S&E) rose rapidly, showing a 10.5% increase from FY 2010 to $3.2 billion.

TABLE 1. Higher education R&D expenditures, by R&D field: FY 2010–11
(Million of current dollars)
Field FY 2010 FY 2011 % change
2010–11
All R&D fields 61,191 65,073 6.3
Science 48,983 51,845 5.8
Computer sciences 1,637 1,735 6.0
Environmental sciences 2,992 3,167 5.8
Atmospheric sciences 429 481 12.1
Earth sciences 1,085 1,142 5.3
Oceanography 1,022 1,049 2.6
Environmental sciences, nec 456 495 8.6
Life sciences 34,924 37,232 6.6
Agricultural sciences 2,984 3,129 4.9
Biological sciences 10,917 11,802 8.1
Medical sciences 19,265 20,356 5.7
Life sciences, nec 1,758 1,945 10.6
Mathematical sciences 592 636 7.4
Physical sciences 4,619 4,779 3.5
Astronomy 573 582 1.6
Chemistry 1,748 1,786 2.2
Physics 1,996 2,109 5.7
Physical sciences, nec 302 303 0.3
Psychology 1,075 1,119 4.1
Social sciences 1,991 2,045 2.7
Economics 349 389 11.5
Political sciences 373 364 -2.4
Sociology 418 425 1.7
Social sciences, nec 851 866 1.8
Sciences, nec 1,154 1,132 -1.9
Engineering 9,327 10,045 7.7
Aeronautical/astronautical engineering 635 672 5.8
Bioengineering/biomedical engineering 744 815 9.5
Chemical engineering 821 927 12.9
Civil engineering 1,107 1,211 9.4
Electrical engineering 2,053 2,209 7.6
Mechanical engineering 1,461 1,556 6.5
Metallurgical/materials engineering 704 738 4.8
Engineering, nec 1,802 1,918 6.4
Non-science and engineering 2,880 3,183 10.5
Business and management 365 395 8.2
Communications, journalism, and library science 129 148 14.7
Education 991 1,104 11.4
Humanities 258 296 14.7
Law 96 119 24.0
Social work 177 191 7.9
Visual and performing arts 64 73 14.1
Non-science and engineering, nec 799 857 7.3

nec = not elsewhere classified.

SOURCE:  National Science Foundation/National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Higher Education Research and Development Survey.

Table 1 Source Data: Excel file

The life sciences received the largest amount of funding from each of the sources, ranging from 66.8% of the funding provided by nonprofit organizations to just over half (51.6%) of institution funds (table 2). Engineering was the second largest field across all sources, ranging from 8.8% of the funding from nonprofit organizations to 25.9% of business-funded expenditures. The remaining fields were funded in relatively equal proportions by the various sources, with the exception of institutional funding of non-S&E R&D. Reflecting the relatively fewer sources of external support for R&D in such fields, institutions themselves contributed 11.2% of their total funding to projects within non-S&E fields, surpassing the federal government's contribution for non-S&E R&D projects.[2]

TABLE 2. Higher education R&D expenditures, by source of funds and R&D field: FY 2011
(Million of current dollars)
Field All R&D
expenditures
Federal
government
State and local
government
Institution
funds
Business Nonprofit
organizations
All other
sources
All R&D fields 65,073 40,765 3,819 12,445 3,162 3,840 1,042
Computer sciences 1,735 1,289 64 240 76 44 21
Environmental sciences 3,167 2,188 176 512 136 96 60
Life sciences 37,232 23,680 2,148 6,427 1,762 2,565 649
Agricultural sciences 3,129 1,041 805 938 141 134 69
Biological sciences 11,802 8,227 527 1,876 339 690 143
Medical sciences 20,356 13,200 733 3,190 1,243 1,589 401
Life sciences, nec 1,945 1,212 83 424 38 152 36
Mathematical sciences 636 459 31 115 10 15 7
Physical sciences 4,779 3,538 107 796 123 170 44
Psychology 1,119 816 40 190 16 47 9
Social sciences 2,045 947 193 587 66 214 37
Sciences, nec 1,132 463 103 415 69 63 19
Engineering 10,045 6,277 702 1,766 820 339 142
Non-science and engineering 3,183 1,107 256 1,397 85 286 52

nec = not elsewhere classified.

NOTES: Because of rounding, detail may not add to total. Not all subfields reported in this table.

SOURCE:  National Science Foundation/National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Higher Education Research and Development Survey, FY 2011.

Table 2 Source Data: Excel file

R&D Spending for Top 30 Performers

Of the 912 institutions surveyed, the top 30 in terms of R&D expenditures in all fields accounted for 40.1% of total academic R&D spending (table 3). There were only two changes to the top 30 between FY 2010 and FY 2011. The University of Southern California moved from number 28 to 31, and Harvard University entered the top 30 at number 27. Six institutions now report over $1 billion each in R&D spending, up from four in FY 2010.

TABLE 3. Thirty institutions reporting the largest FY 2011 R&D expenditures in all fields, by source of funds: FY 2011
(Million of current dollars)
Rank Institution All R&D
expenditures
Federal government (non-ARRA) Federal government (ARRA) State and local government Institution funds Business Nonprofit organizations All other sources
All institutions 65,073 36,605 4,160 3,819 12,445 3,162 3,840 1,042
Leading 30 institutions 26,086 15,059 1,767 1,305 3,959 1,527 1,912 553
1 Johns Hopkins U.a 2,145 1,801 83 8 78 59 104 12
2 U. MI Ann Arbor 1,279 707 113 2 363 40 47 7
3 U. WA Seattle 1,149 790 159 20 57 21 76 25
4 U. WI Madison 1,112 542 52 103 220 28 125 42
5 Duke U. 1,022 511 74 32 120 215 69 1
6 U. CA San Diego 1,009 583 54 42 99 67 112 53
7 U. CA San Francisco 995 509 61 31 136 54 126 78
8 U. CA Los Angeles 982 502 61 38 160 49 93 79
9 Stanford U. 908 573 83 39 72 58 81 2
10 U. Pittsburgh main campus 899 590 73 8 196 12 21 0
11 U. PA 886 612 95 22 52 44 62 0
12 Columbia U. in the City of New York 879 564 82 12 99 36 65 21
13 U. MN Twin Cities 847 439 50 60 190 31 61 15
14 OH State U. 832 430 63 101 95 104 26 14
15 PA State U. University Park and Hershey Medical Ctr. 795 438 31 56 161 65 40 4
16 Cornell U. 782 432 44 62 137 24 80 2
17 U. NC Chapel Hill 767 494 68 6 122 26 51 0
18 U. FL 740 265 41 98 281 23 27 5
19 Washington U. St 725 414 55 19 103 42 49 42
20 MA Institute of Technology 724 441 48 0 17 110 73 34
21 U. CA Berkeley 708 309 27 60 122 87 84 19
22 U. CA Davis 708 324 39 60 146 37 66 36
23 TX A&M U. 706 276 15 132 187 55 36 5
24 U. TX M. D. Anderson Cancer Ctr. 663 208 28 199 70 60 98 0
25 Yale U. 657 454 66 5 62 12 47 12
26 GA Institute of Technology 655 412 16 11 158 42 13 4
27 Harvard U. 650 470 73 2 0 26 68 10
28 U. TX Austin 632 326 29 41 129 68 31 7
29 Northwestern U. 619 346 54 5 144 15 55 NA
30 U. AZ 611 298 30 31 183 17 26 24

NA = not available.

ARRA = American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

a Johns Hopkins University includes Applied Physics Laboratory, with $1,161 million in total R&D expenditures in FY 2011.

NOTES:  Because of rounding, detail may not add to total. Institutions ranked are geographically separate campuses headed by a campus-level president or chancellor.

SOURCE:  National Science Foundation/National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Higher Education Research and Development

Table 3 Source Data: Excel file

Among the top 30, the percentage of R&D funds provided by the federal government, including ARRA funding, varied dramatically: from 35.6% of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center total to 87.8% of the total for the Johns Hopkins University, including its Applied Physics Laboratory. The percentage of total R&D funded by ARRA also varied, ranging from 2.1% of Texas A&M University's total to 13.8% of the University of Washington Seattle's total.

ARRA Funding by State

On average, ARRA funds contributed 6.4% of the total spent on higher education R&D within a state. The state with the highest proportion was Maine, with 13.3% of its $140 million total funded by ARRA. Vermont (11.4%) and Washington (11.3%) were also well above the national average. North Dakota (2.0%), Mississippi (2.1%), and South Dakota (2.7%) had the lowest proportions of ARRA funding for higher education R&D (figure 2).



FIGURE 2. Higher education R&D expenditures funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, by state: FY 2011.

  Figure 2 Source Data: Excel file

R&D Expenditures within Medical Schools

In FY 2010, the redesigned HERD Survey began capturing the amount of R&D spending that occurred within an institution's medical school. This detail allows institutions with and without medical schools to more accurately compare themselves with peer institutions, and it provides a national total for R&D spending within medical schools.[3]

Of the $65.1 billion total, 35.5% ($23.1 billion) was spent within medical schools. Duke University reported the largest amount of medical school R&D in FY 2011 ($831 million, or 81.3% of their FY 2011 total). Of the top 10 institutions, six reported medical school R&D spending that accounted for more than 70% of their total R&D expenditures (table 4).

TABLE 4. Ten institutions reporting the largest FY 2011 medical school R&D expenditures: FY 2011
(Million of current dollars)
Rank Institution Medical school R&D
expenditures
Non-medical school R&D
expenditures
All institutions 23,115 41,958
1 Duke U. 831 191
2 U. CA San Francisco 785 210
3 Johns Hopkins U.a 646 1,499
4 U. Pittsburgh main campus 638 261
5 Washington U. St 631 94
6 U. PA 629 257
7 U. WA Seattle 603 546
8 U. MI Ann Arbor 545 734
9 Stanford U. 536 372
10 Yale U. 489 168

a Johns Hopkins University includes Applied Physics Laboratory, with $1,161 million in total R&D expenditures in FY 2011.

SOURCE:  National Science Foundation/National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Higher Education Research and Development Survey, FY 2011.

Table 4 Source Data: Excel file

Data Sources, Limitations, and Availability

The fiscal year referred to throughout this report is the academic fiscal year; for most institutions FY 2011 represents the period 1 July 2010 through 30 June 2011. The higher education R&D expenditures data presented in this InfoBrief were obtained from 912 universities and colleges that grant bachelor's or higher degrees and expended at least $150,000 in R&D during the survey period. The survey population included an additional 170 institutions in FY 2011. This increase is due to the screening conducted in FY 2010 via the HERD Short Form Survey. For more details on the Short Form, see appendix D of the FY 2010 HERD detailed statistical tables at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf12330/.

Although ARRA funding was awarded to institutions in federal FY 2009, much of the funding was for multiyear projects. ARRA expenditures are expected to appear in HERD totals through academic FY 2013. The amounts reported include all funds expended for activities specifically organized to produce research outcomes and sponsored by an outside organization or separately budgeted using institution funds. R&D expenditures at university-administered federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) are collected in a separate survey. Data from the FFRDC R&D Survey are available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/ffrdc/.

The full set of detailed tables from this survey will be available in the report Higher Education Research and Development: Fiscal Year 2011 at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/rdexpenditures/. Individual detailed tables from the 2011 survey may be available in advance of publication of the full report. For further information, please contact the author.

Notes

[1]  Ronda Britt, Research and Development Statistics Program, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965, Arlington, VA 22230 (rbritt@nsf.gov; 703-292-7765).

[2]  For more details on the specific fields within each of these broad field categories, see pages 10–15 of the FY 2011 HERD Survey questionnaire, http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvyherd/surveys/srvyherd_2011.pdf.

[3]  This amount includes only the spending that is accounted for within the institution's accounting systems. R&D performed by faculty at outside hospitals or clinics is not included unless the R&D project award was administered by the faculty's home institution.


National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
Universities Report Highest-Ever R&D Spending of $65 Billion in FY 2011
Arlington, VA (NSF 13-305) [November 2012]


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