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Higher Education R&D Expenditures Remain Flat in FY 2012

University spending on research and development in all fields totaled $65.8 billion in FY 2012, according to data from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey.

Ronda Britt

When adjusted for inflation, higher education R&D declined by 1.1% in FY 2012 (figure 1).

This represents the first constant-dollar decline since FY 1974 and ends a period of modest growth during FYs 2009–11, when R&D expenditures increased an average of 5% each year.

The expenditures funded by the one-time American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) decreased from $4.2 billion in FY 2011 to $2.4 billion in FY 2012. ARRA funding represented 6.1% of the federally funded R&D expenditures for FY 2012. Including ARRA funding, the total federal funding for higher education R&D declined from $40.8 billion in FY 2011 to $40.1 billion in FY 2012, falling from 62.5% to 61.0% of total R&D expenditures. In constant dollars, federally funded R&D expenditures declined 3.3% in FY 2012.

Unless otherwise indicated, references to dollar amounts or percentages for the remainder of this InfoBrief are in current dollars.

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