National Patterns of R&D Resources provides current data on the levels and key trends of the performance and funding of research and experimental development (R&D) in the United States. The statistical tables included in this Data Update supplement the recent InfoBrief (December 2017, available at by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) that discusses the National Patterns findings for 2015–16.

The National Patterns statistics draw primarily from NCSES’s national surveys of the R&D expenditures and funding of the organizations that perform the bulk of U.S. R&D—including businesses, federal and nonfederal government, higher education, and other nonprofit organizations. Additional details on levels and trends are provided by type of R&D performed (i.e., basic research, applied research, and experimental development). The National Patterns data are reported in both current and inflation-adjusted dollars, with comparisons to the historical record for U.S. R&D (back to 1953) and to the corresponding pace of overall U.S. economic growth.

The data for 2016 are “estimates” based mainly on early findings from the 2016 sectoral R&D expenditure surveys and evident recent trends. The data for 2015 were included in the previous edition (2014–15) of this report series but are now revised to reflect new, nearly final input from the sectoral surveys; they are marked “preliminary,” because some of the sectoral components still lack final data. The numbers for 1953–2014 reflect mainly final survey data that normally would include only minor revisions. This Data Update, however, includes some significant changes in the numbers for the higher education sector due to methodological updates applied from the late 1990s onward (see the section Methodology below).

The statistical tables are arranged to exhibit the U.S. R&D data from two differing perspectives. The first perspective (tables 2–5) is by type of R&D performer, with subsequent breakouts by the source of funds. The second perspective (tables 6–9) is by source of funds, with subsequent breakouts by type of performer. The data in both groups of tables sum to the same overall U.S. R&D performance totals. Table 1 provides data mainly on the U.S. R&D-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio and its components. Table 10 presents state-level breakdowns of the U.S. R&D totals, by performing sector and source of funds, for 2015.

For trend comparisons, use only the historical data from the most recent publication, which incorporates the latest revisions and corrections. Do not use data published earlier.