Federal Government Share of University R&D Funding Drops to 60 Percent
In fiscal year 2008, universities reported science and engineering research and development expenditures of $51.9 billion, according to a new report released by the National Science Foundation. NSF’s Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges showed a decrease in federal funding as a share of the academic R&D total, from 64 percent in fiscal year 2005 to 60 percent in fiscal year 2008. Although a drop, the funding level ensures that the federal government keeps its traditional role as the largest source of academic R&D funding.
In current dollars, fiscal year 2008 survey data showed an increase in federally funded expenditures of 2.5 percent, reaching $31.2 billion. After adjusting for inflation, this represents a 0.2 percent increase from fiscal year 2007 and follows two years of real declines since fiscal year 2005.
Other statistical notes from the report include:
• Combined sources of nonfederal funding grew by 8.3 percent during the 2008 fiscal year.
• State and local government funding of R&D expenditures grew in fiscal year 2008 by 8.8 percent, increasing to $3.4 billion from $3.1 billion in fiscal year 2007.
• Industry funding grew 7.1 percent to $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2008.
• Funding from academic institutions increased 7.0 percent to $10.4 billion in fiscal year 2008.
Additionally, R&D funds for joint projects that were passed through primary university recipients to other university subrecipients nearly doubled from fiscal year 2000 to fiscal year 2008, from $0.7 billion to $1.4 billion in constant 2000 dollars. The current dollar amount of $1.7 billion represents 3.3 percent of total academic R&D expenditures in fiscal year 2008, compared with 2.3 percent of the total in fiscal year 2000.