NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Where Federal R&D Money Goes

June 19, 2000

Some 24 federal agencies funnel more than $80 billion a year to research and development projects, according to a Rand Corporation report entitled "Discovery and Innovation."

According to 1998 data, the $80 billion represents 14 percent of all federal discretionary funds. The money is spent either directly or through contracts, grants or cooperative agreements. Issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the report is the first comprehensive roster ever of all the institutions that receive such funding.

  • California received the most money, by far, in 1998 -- $14.4 billion.
  • At second and third place, Maryland received $8.1 billion and Virginia hauled in $4.6 billion.
  • On a per capita basis, however, the District of Columbia garnered $5,139 per resident.
  • Again on a per capita basis, Maryland was right up there following D.C. at $1,573 -- while Virginia got $676.

Other states benefiting from hefty federal R&D largesse were Georgia, Texas, Massachusetts, Florida, New York and Ohio.

The report notes that federal agencies define R&D differently. Also, there is no government-wide definition of another, similar term -- "science and technology," which has at least two different meanings.

Source: Curt Suplee, "Report Shows How, Where U.S. Spends R&D Funds," Washington Post, June 16, 2000.


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