Federal Analysis and Improvement: Funding Has Grown since 2012 and Is Concentrated inside a Few Companies

Federal Analysis and Improvement: Funding Has Grown since 2012 and Is Concentrated inside a Few Companies

Health Information Technology

What GAO Discovered

Federal analysis and improvement (R&D) funding has elevated since 2012—most not too long ago due to COVID-19 stimulus funding. 5 companies obligated the vast majority of federal R&D funding with the Departments of Protection (DOD) and Well being and Human Providers (HHS) accounting for almost 80 p.c in fiscal yr 2021 (see determine). HHS has primarily funded analysis, whereas DOD primarily funds improvement. Nonetheless, HHS has develop into a serious funder of improvement in recent times due to COVID-19 stimulus funding. HHS averaged lower than 1 p.c in improvement funding by means of fiscal yr 2019 however reported 37 p.c of its R&D obligations had been for improvement in fiscal yr 2021. Of the estimated $179.5 billion in federal R&D obligations in fiscal yr 2021, about two-thirds went to organizations outdoors the federal authorities. In fiscal yr 2021, business, universities, and schools acquired the vast majority of these exterior R&D obligations—virtually $90 billion.

Federal Analysis and Improvement Obligations, Fiscal Yr 2021

Federal Analysis and Improvement: Funding Has Grown since 2012 and Is Concentrated inside a Few Companies

Observe: FY 2021 information are estimates offered by federal companies to the Nationwide Science Basis.

Federal funding additionally contains 4 multi-agency initiatives in areas recognized as having long-term nationwide significance, equivalent to quantum info science and nanotechnology. These initiatives coordinate actions in areas which can be too broad or complicated to be addressed by one company alone. For instance, greater than 60 companies take part in an initiative on community and data know-how, which incorporates investments in synthetic intelligence and machine studying. Not all collaborating companies contribute funding to such initiatives. Funding for these initiatives elevated over the earlier decade, and accounted for roughly $14 billion in fiscal yr 2020, slightly below 9 p.c of the overall federal R&D funds.

Why GAO Did This Examine

Scientific and technological innovation are essential to long-term U.S. financial competitiveness, prosperity, and nationwide safety. The U.S. has lengthy been a world chief in advancing the frontiers of science and know-how. Elevated competitors from different international locations has led some consultants to specific concern that the U.S. could also be dropping its aggressive edge in sure applied sciences. Companies are investing in varied R&D initiatives, together with these which can be of strategic nationwide significance, equivalent to community and data know-how, nanotechnology, quantum info science, and international environmental adjustments.

This report describes (1) tendencies in federal R&D funding over the past 10 years and (2) the funding and group for chosen multi-agency R&D initiatives, amongst different targets.

To deal with these targets, GAO analyzed information revealed by the Nationwide Science Basis on annual R&D expenditures and examined Workplace of Administration and Price range (OMB) information. GAO additionally reviewed company documentation and picked up written responses to structured questions on federal R&D from the Chief Monetary Officer or funds workplace from the 5 companies that fund most R&D.

As well as, GAO interviewed officers from OMB and the Workplace of Science and Know-how Coverage, together with the Administrators of the Nationwide Coordination Workplaces for chosen multi-agency R&D initiatives, that are coordinated underneath the auspices of the Nationwide Science and Know-how Council.

For extra info, contact Candice N. Wright at (202) 512-6888 or [email protected]