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General Science and Engineering Indicators
R&D Investment Patterns
R&D Investment by Selected Country
Academic R&D Investment by Selected Country and S&E Field
U.S. R&D Investment by Selected Source of Support
U.S. R&D Investment by Selected Performing Sector
U.S. R&D Investment by Federal Budget Function
U.S. Federal Research Investment by Selected Agency and S&E Field
S&E Workforce Development
Knowledge Output

Selected Education Indicators
High School Completion Patterns
High School Teachers
Higher Education Enrollments

Selected Global Marketplace Indicators


The federal government funds the majority of basic research in the United States, while industry funds the majority of development.

Why is this indicator important?

  • The outcomes and benefits of R&D investments depend not only on the amount of funding but also on the sources of support and the type of R&D those sources support.

Key Observations

  • Industry funds about 83% of development, while the federal government funds about 16%.
  • The federal government funds about 59% of basic research, while industry funds 17% (SEI 2008 Appendix Table 4-10).

Related Discussion

  • Industry surpassed the federal government as the largest source of R&D funding overall in 1980.
  • Following an economic slowdown in the United States in 2001 and 2002, the business activities of many R&D-performing firms were curtailed.
  • The federal share of R&D funding first fell below 50% in 1979 and dropped to a low of 25% in 2000. Reflecting increased research spending on health, defense and counterterrorism, the federal share of R&D funding is projected at 28% of the R&D funding total in 2006.