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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


More than half of all U.S. federal R&D investment is spent in support of defense, although investment in space research and in general sciences has grown more recently.

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Why is this indicator important?

  • Budget authority is the initial budget parameter for congressional action on the President's proposed budget and imposes a ceiling on obligations and outlays.

Key Observations

  • The large majority of Federal R&D investment is mission oriented, that is, spending to achieve government goals. Increases in Federal R&D funding in recent years reflect, initially, increased spending on health related research and, since 9/11, on development in national security areas.
  • Largely as a result of increased defense spending following 9/11, expenditures for R&D conducted by federal agencies and FFRDCs grew at the rapid rate of almost 6.6% per year in real terms between 2000 and 2003.
  • Space R&D includes increased investments in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Vision for Space Exploration to return humans to the Moon and Mars.
  • Note that in FY 1998 many Department of Energy (DOE) programs were reclassified from energy to general science.

Related Discussion