The U.S. continues to be the global leader in total R&D expenditures, spending $483 billion (adjusted to 2010 purchasing parity dollars) in 2017 compared to China’s expenditures of $443 billion. However, according to a recent publication from the National Science Foundation, China surpassed the U.S. in expenditures on experimental development in 2014 and has since continued to increase its lead.
Across the U.S., the federal government provided 53 percent of R&D funding at institutions of higher education in FY 2018. Those institutions provided 26 percent of the funding themselves, and most of the remainder was provided by a mix of nonprofit organizations (7 percent), industry (6 percent), and state and local government (5 percent). The specific contributions varied from state to state, however, with some relying more on specific relationships to support R&D within the state.
Innovation has always relied, to some degree, on government support. But a recent study suggests that public funding might be even more influential than it seems. “Nearly a third of US patents rely directly on US government funded research,” says Dennis A. Yao, Lawrence E. Fouraker Professor of Business Administration and co-head of the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School.
The U.S. Department of Education announced today that it invested $540 million to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, including computer science, through discretionary and research grants in Fiscal Year 2019, in accordance with President Trump's directive to foster expanded opportunities in these in-demand career fields.
The Senate passed a spending bill Oct. 31 that provides $22.75 billion for NASA in fiscal year 2020, but final agreement on funding for agency programs may still be weeks, if not months, away. On an 84–9 vote, the Senate approved a so-called “minibus” appropriations bill that combined several separate measures, including the commerce, justice and science (CJS) bill that funds NASA, NOAA and the National Science Foundation, among other agencies.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is planning a major initiative to use artificial intelligence (AI) to speed up scientific discoveries. At a meeting here last week, DOE officials said they will likely ask Congress for between $3 billion and $4 billion over 10 years, roughly the amount the agency is spending to build next-generation “exascale” supercomputers.
Examining the effects that Chinese anticorruption campaigns had on government R&D subsidies, the study estimated that the Chinese governments (national, provincial, and local) paid for a whopping 22.2 percent of business R&D in 2015, with 95 percent of Chinese firms in 6 industries receiving government cash—petrochemicals, electronics, metals and materials, machinery and equipment, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, and information technology.
The Mars science community is concerned that the growing costs of NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission could reduce the funds available for other robotic missions, according to a presentation that took place during a meeting of NASA's Planetary Science Advisory Committee.
The United States continues to fall further behind world leaders in funding for university research. To reverse course, it should increase support by $45 billion per year and provide stronger incentives for businesses to increase their investments.
Black applicants to a prestigious research grant program at the National Institutes of Health are awarded funding at a significantly lower rate than their white peers. The NIH has been intensively investigating this funding gap since a 2011 report revealed the extent of the problem, looking for underlying mechanisms to use as opportunities for corrective intervention.