Federal funding for research at higher education institutions declined for a fourth straight year, according to a new report from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES).
(From the National Science Foundation)– During a peak in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, federal funding accounted for 62.5 percent of total higher education research and development (R&D) expenditures. That figure dropped to 55.2 percent in FY 2015, the most recent year for which data are available. Overall, universities reported $68.8 billion in R&D expenditures for FY 2015; federal funding accounted for $37.9 billion of that.
Adjusted for inflation, federal funding for higher education R&D declined 1.7 percent between FY 2014 and FY 2015, and 13 percent since a peak in FY 2011. The latest figures continue the longest multi-year decline since the beginning of annual data collection in FY 1972.
Despite the drop in federal dollars, three agencies — the Department of Defense, NASA and the Department of Agriculture — reported increases. All other major providers reported decreases. That included the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), by far the largest source of federal fu
nds, which provided $20 billion in FY 2015, down from $23 billion in FY 2011.
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