June 11, 2010
A recent study by three Greek researchers examined Nobel Prize-winning research in medicine, physics and chemistry from 2000 to 2008. They found that the United States -- via the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, among other government bodies -- funds a large amount of the highest-quality scientific work, much more than all other countries combined. U.S. non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as the American Cancer Society, underwrote much of the research as well.
- Though industries fund more than half of U.S. biomedical research, their projects accounted for only about 1 percent of Nobel winners' work over the period studied.
- In fact, even when non-U.S. researchers won Nobels, they were often funded by U.S. sources -- suggesting the United States' grip on groundbreaking research is not loosening as fast as some might suggest.
Percentage of 2000-2008 Nobel-winning research, shown by source of funding received:
- 57 percent U.S. government funding.
- 29 percent non-U.S. government funding.
- 20 percent nongovernment funding.
- 30 percent no outside funding.
- 1 percent corporate funding.
Source: Andrew Swift, "Prize Money," Foreign Policy Magazine, May/June 2010.
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