If you had the feeling that federal research money was getting tighter, a report this week from the National Science Foundation confirms it. "Universities Report Stalled Growth in Federal R&D Funding in FY 2006," from NSF's Division of Science Resources Statistics shows that federally-funded academic R&D spending rose 2.9% in 2006, to $30 billion. But taking inflation into account, that's a 0.1% decrease from 2005. (The federal government's fiscal year runs from 1 October to 30 September.) Federal money accounts for 63% of all R&D spending at academic institutions.
Add in the other 37% and the picture looks much better. Including non-federal money, total research spending rose 4.3% in FY 2006. After the federal government, the largest source of research spending was from institutions' own funds, and that total increased 9.7% in FY 2006, to $9 billion. Industry spending gained 5.8% to $2.4 billion, the second annual increase in a row, reversing a 3-year decline. State and local funding gained only 2.5%, even further below the inflation rate than federal spending. Research spending by other sources, largely non-governmental organizations and other not-for-profits, increased to $3.2 billion, a 4.2% rise.
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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the parent department of National Institutes of Health, accounted for 57% of all federal academic research spending in FY 2006, concentrating on biomedical disciplines. HHS was also the leading funder of research in psychology and the social sciences. The National Science Foundation was the leading funder in the physical sciences, mathematics, environmental sciences, and computer science. The Department of Defense spent more money for engineering research than any other agency.
The life sciences grabbed $28.8 billion in total
spending (including non-governmental sources), accounting for 6 out of every 10
dollars spent on R&D in FY 2006. Total spending on the life sciences rose
4.4% in FY 2006, with medical sciences rising 6.3% to $15.8 billion. Research in
engineering increased 5%, rising to $7.1 billion. Physical science spending
managed to keep pace with inflation, registering a 3.2% increase, with funding
for chemistry research increasing 4.3%.
Among other disciplines, total gains in funding for computer science (2.3%) and environmental science (2.0%) fell well below the 3% inflation rate. Within the environmental category, atmospheric science spending rose 11% over 2005. Among the social and behavioral sciences, spending on psychology increased 5.9% to $875 million. Research funding in sociology rose 7.9% and economics increased 4.3%, but funds for political science research fell 2.2% in 2006.
Johns Hopkins University continued to rank first in FY 2006 as the leading academic recipient of research funding, bringing in $1.5 billion. However, $709 million or 47% of that institution's total went to its Applied Physics Laboratory. University of Wisconsin at Madison, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Michigan (all campuses), University of California at San Francisco, and University of California at San Diego each brought in $700 million or more. The rest of the top 10 recipients included Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, and Duke University. All of the top 10 institutions registered increases in research funding from FY 2005 to 2006, except for Stanford, which dropped from $715 million in 2005 to $679 million in 2006.
Hat tip: Inside Higher Ed.