by Michael Yamaner[1]

In FY 2013, federal agencies obligated $29 billion to 995 academic institutions for science and engineering (S&E) activities. This represents a 6% decrease in current dollars from the $31 billion obligated to 1,073 academic institutions in FY 2012. This is the third year in a row of declining S&E funding to academic institutions. These statistics are from the Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions from the National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NSF, NCSES).

After adjustment for inflation, federal S&E obligations to academic institutions declined by $1 billion (4%) from FY 2011 to FY 2012 and declined by $2 billion (7%) between FY 2012 and FY 2013 (table 1). For the remainder of this InfoBrief, unless otherwise noted, amounts for FY 2013 obligations are in current dollars and changes in funding across years are in inflation-adjusted constant dollars.

TABLE 1. Federal academic science and engineering obligations, by activity: FY 2011–13

S&E = science and engineering.

NOTES: Gross domestic product implicit price deflators were used to convert current to constant dollars. Because of rounding, detail may not add to totals.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions, FY 2013.

Table 1 Source Data: Excel file

Fiscal year All federal
obligations
Research and
development
R&D plant Facilities and
equipment for
instruction in S&E
Fellowships
traineeships and
training grants
General
support for
S&E
Other S&E
activities
Current $millions
2011 31,460 27,971 323 4 1,014 208 1,941
2012 30,848 27,419 424 4 913 141 1,947
2013 29,034 25,869 246 4 892 132 1,891
Constant FY 2009 $millions
2011 30,591 27,199 314 4 986 202 1,887
2012 29,480 26,203 405 4 873 135 1,861
2013 27,334 24,354 232 4 840 124 1,780

Categories of Academic S&E Support

Federal academic S&E obligations include six categories: research and development (89% of total federal academic S&E obligations annually over the past 3 years); R&D plant; facilities and equipment for instruction in S&E; fellowships, traineeships, and training grants; general support for S&E; and other S&E activities (table 1).

Federal academic R&D obligations decreased by $2 billion (7%) between FY 2012 and FY 2013. Four of the five remaining categories showed decreased funding in FY 2013 with R&D plant being the second largest decrease ($173 million, or 43%) and other S&E activities being the third largest decrease ($81 million, or 4%). Facilities and equipment for instruction in S&E remained unchanged ($4 million in FY 2013) (table 1).

Agency Sources for Academic S&E Support

Collectively, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), NSF, and the Department of Defense (DOD) provided 87% of all federally funded academic S&E obligations in FY 2013. Of these agencies, HHS accounted for 58% of all federally funded obligations; NSF, 17%; and DOD, 12%. The Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) provided most of the remaining academic S&E total (11%). Of the six agencies, only DOE showed increased obligations for academic S&E between FY 2012 and FY 2013 (table 2).

TABLE 2. Federal academic science and engineering obligations, by agency in FY 2013 rank order: FY 2011–13

DOD = Department of Defense; DOE = Department of Energy; HHS = Department of Health and Human Services; NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration; NSF = National Science Foundation; USDA = U.S. Department of Agriculture.

a Includes data for the Departments of Commerce, Education, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, and Transportation; Agency for International Development; Environmental Protection Agency; Appalachian Regional Commission; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Justice Programs (part of Department of Justice); and Social Security Administration.

NOTES: Gross domestic product implicit price deflators were used to convert current to constant dollars. Because of rounding, detail may not add to totals.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions, FY 2013.

Table 2 Source Data: Excel file

Fiscal year All
agencies
HHS NSF DOD USDA DOE NASA Other
agenciesa
Current $millions
2011 31,460 18,164 5,113 3,923 1,449 1,160 592 1,059
2012 30,848 17,904 5,114 3,637 1,220 1,018 971 985
2013 29,034 16,839 4,911 3,365 1,136 1,054 884 847
Constant FY 2009 $millions
2011 30,591 17,662 4,972 3,815 1,409 1,128 576 1,030
2012 29,480 17,110 4,887 3,476 1,166 973 928 941
2013 27,334 15,853 4,623 3,168 1,069 992 832 797

University Shares of Academic S&E Support

The Johns Hopkins University (including its Applied Physics Laboratory) continued to be the leading academic recipient of federal S&E obligations: $1.5 billion in FY 2013. DOD provided Johns Hopkins with the largest share of federal S&E funds (47% of its FY 2013 total). The leading 20 universities, ranked in terms of federal academic S&E obligations, accounted for 37% of the FY 2013 federal total. Of these universities, 19 were also ranked among the top 20 recipients in FY 2012. In FY 2013, Pennsylvania State University’s rank fell from 14th to 18th and the University of Colorado’s rank rose from 16th to 13th. Vanderbilt University moved from 21st to 20th by trading places with Washington University, St. Louis in FY 2013 (table 3).

TABLE 3. Federal academic science and engineering obligations to the 20 universities and colleges receiving the largest amounts, by agency: FY 2013
(Current dollars in thousands)

DOD = Department of Defense; DOE = Department of Energy; HHS = Department of Health and Human Services; NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration; NSF = National Science Foundation; USDA = U.S. Department of Agriculture.

a Includes data for the Departments of Commerce, Education, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, and Transportation; Agency for International Development; Environmental Protection Agency; Appalachian Regional Commission; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Justice Programs (part of Department of Justice); and Social Security Administration.

b Includes funding for Applied Physics Laboratory.

NOTE: Because of rounding, detail may not add to totals.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions, FY 2013.

Table 3 Source Data: Excel file

Institution All federal
obligations
HHS NSF DOD USDA DOE NASA Other
agenciesa
All institutions 29,034,304 16,838,744 4,910,561 3,365,151 1,135,530 1,054,056 883,557 846,705
 
Top 20 institutions 10,628,130 6,976,456 1,090,495 1,698,447 99,247 233,070 338,315 192,100
 
Johns Hopkins U.b 1,538,503 603,534 38,369 720,040 0 4,497 158,349 13,714
U. WA 662,921 448,691 87,701 64,050 10,558 20,339 10,929 20,653
U. MI 609,859 418,803 86,483 39,862 1,362 20,509 21,838 21,003
U. CA, San Francisco 573,638 536,012 4,768 31,426 0 164 349 920
U. CA, San Diego 565,551 368,754 97,723 59,290 560 13,314 7,424 18,486
 
U. PA 540,124 458,366 36,587 33,779 1,128 6,578 2,279 1,407
Stanford U. 495,617 360,830 46,071 54,587 83 12,624 17,105 4,318
U. CA, Los Angeles 481,135 348,876 64,123 32,489 350 19,377 12,702 3,218
Columbia U. in the City of New York 477,051 346,117 77,772 24,615 0 9,503 14,972 4,072
U. Pittsburgh 465,625 413,396 25,140 20,018 0 3,274 321 3,477
 
Harvard U. 458,700 357,432 49,716 33,592 492 6,888 8,111 2,470
Duke U. 454,284 354,707 39,868 36,834 88 7,912 2,657 12,219
U. CO 448,387 237,170 70,791 23,503 271 12,032 56,775 47,845
U. NC, Chapel Hill 441,717 394,829 28,217 10,576 65 3,405 88 4,537
U. WI, Madison 440,354 248,602 96,254 17,364 25,634 48,493 0 4,007
 
Yale U. 412,470 354,527 25,489 20,975 0 8,947 2,488 45
U. MN 410,566 276,838 70,223 10,756 28,888 11,240 3,560 9,062
PA State U. 392,832 108,154 57,702 167,835 29,228 11,561 9,449 8,903
GA Institute of Technology 385,230 22,689 66,911 272,210 50 5,960 8,552 8,859
Vanderbilt U. 373,566 318,131 20,590 24,649 492 6,452 369 2,884
All other academic institutions 18,406,174 9,862,289 3,820,066 1,666,704 1,036,283 820,986 545,242 654,605

Federal S&E Support to Nonprofit Institutions

NSF collects statistics on federal obligations to independent nonprofit institutions for two of the six S&E categories: R&D and R&D plant. During FY 2013 federal agencies obligated $6.6 billion to 1,068 nonprofit institutions, a decrease of 2% from the $6.8 billion reported in FY 2012 (current dollars). HHS accounted for the largest decrease in funding ($319 million in current dollars). MITRE Corporation received the most federal R&D and R&D plant funds ($485 million) among nonprofits in FY 2013, with DOD providing 99.9% of this funding (table 4).

TABLE 4. Federal research and development and R&D plant obligations to the 10 independent nonprofit institutions receiving the largest amounts, by agency: FY 2013
(Current dollars in thousands)

DOD = Department of Defense; DOE = Department of Energy; HHS = Department of Health and Human Services; NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration; NSF = National Science Foundation.

a Includes data for the Departments of Commerce, Education, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, and Transportation; Agency for International Development; Environmental Protection Agency; Appalachian Regional Commission; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Justice Programs (part of Department of Justice); and Social Security Administration.

NOTE: Because of rounding, detail may not add to totals.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions, FY 2013.

Table 4 Source Data: Excel file

Institution All federal
obligations
HHS DOD NSF NASA DOE Other
agenciesa
All nonprofit institutions 6,609,871 4,078,897 1,248,186 521,463 356,397 174,901 230,028
 
Top 10 nonprofit institutions 2,370,608 1,264,556 839,700 111,922 103,638 32,513 18,278
 
MITRE Corp. 484,866 0 484,396 0 0 300 169
MA General Hospital 322,162 319,362 2,429 350 21 0 0
Brigham and Women's Hospital 316,601 313,428 2,124 221 571 0 257
Mayo Clinic 215,629 209,817 4,845 487 0 0 481
Battelle Memorial Institute 190,090 36,857 121,702 0 0 27,106 4,425
 
Association of Universities for Research
in Astronomy 187,621 0 0 84,575 103,047 0 0
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Ctr. 182,821 181,426 0 1,395 0 0 0
SRI International 178,903 45,045 93,077 23,795 0 5,107 11,879
RAND Corp. 167,138 35,188 130,883 0 0 0 1,067
Boston Children's Hospital 124,777 123,433 245 1,100 0 0 0
 
All other nonprofit institutions 4,239,264 2,814,341 408,486 409,540 252,759 142,388 211,750

In FY 2013, the 10 leading nonprofit institutions in terms of federal S&E funds received 36% of the total funding to all nonprofits. Five of these recipients were hospitals or medical research institutes, and 7 of these leading 10 nonprofits in FY 2013 also ranked among the top 10 in the prior year.

Several nonprofits moved into the top 10: the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (ranked 30th in FY 2012 and 6th in FY 2013), the RAND Corporation (ranked 18th in FY 2012 and 9th in FY 2013), and Boston Children’s Hospital (ranked 13th in FY 2012 and 10th in FY 2013). And several nonprofits fell out of the top 10: The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (ranked 7th in FY 2012 and 16th in FY 2013), the Southwest Research Institute (ranked 9th in FY 2012 and 19th in FY 2013), and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (ranked 10th in FY 2012 and 11th in FY 2013) (table 4)

Data Sources, Limitations, and Availability

Gross domestic product implicit price deflators were used to convert current to constant dollars in this InfoBrief. The data on federal S&E obligations to academic and nonprofit institutions presented here were obtained from 18 agencies that responded to the FY 2013 Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions (Federal S&E Support Survey). The Federal S&E Support Survey collects federal S&E support data by funding agency, institution, type of activity, type of institution, and geographic location.

The six funding categories of federal S&E support are defined as follows:

The full set of detailed statistical tables on the FY 2013 Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions will be available online at http://nsf.gov/statistics/fedsupport/. Individual tables may be available in advance of the full report. For more information, please contact the author.

Notes

[1] Michael Yamaner, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965, Arlington, VA 22230 (myamaner@nsf.gov; 703-292-7815).