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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

U.s. Spending on Research to Fall


U.S. research and development (R&D) funding will drop next year as corporations and the federal government cut spending, predicts a Battelle Memorial Institute report. After accounting for inflation, total U.S. spending in R&D is expected to fall by about 1.6 percent in 2009, the report says. Without adjusting for inflation, R&D spending is expected to increase about 1.72 percent to $383.5 billion in 2009, up from $377 billion this year.

Battelle report co-author Jules Duga says that any drop in R&D spending may only be temporary. "We've been through this sort of change in the past and returned to steady-state growth," Duga says. "Managers and those in the boardroom continue to believe in R&D — they take a long-term view."

Industry, the largest source of R&D funds in the U.S., is expected to spend $257 billion next year on R&D, down about 1.3 percent from this year after adjusting for inflation, though that figure does not account for investments made by U.S. companies overseas. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is expected to spend $99 billion in 2009, a drop of 2.9 percent after adjusting for inflation. U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has emphasized the need for greater government support in science, medicine, and R&D, but the new administration will not be able to make significant changes in R&D priorities in the fiscal budget until 2010.

From The Wall Street Journal

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