R&D spending breakdown – USA (2017)

Spending by sector

  • Of the US$542 billion spent on research and development (R&D) in the United States in 2017, 73% was invested by businesses and 13% by universities. Government agencies accounted for 10% and nonprofit organizations (NPOs), such as research foundations and institutes, made up the remaining 4%.

Funding sources

  • 93.6% of spending by business was self-funded (including from third parties) and 6.4% came from the government (6.0% federal funding and 0.4% from state and foreign governments)
  • At universities, 56% of R&D expenditure was covered by federal and state funding, 28% from the institutions themselves, 6% from businesses, and 10% from NPOs

Business contributions to university R&D funding

  • Since records began in 1953, the most that businesses have contributed to university R&D funding in the USA in one year is 8.45% (in 1957). Over the last decade, this proportion has remained level at between 5% and 6%
  • Of all the R&D activities funded by businesses, a maximum of 1.47% was performed at universities in the period (in 1994). In the last decade, this proportion has varied between 1.13% and 1.23%