Dollar squeeze


  • Michael Carlowicz


According to Science & Engineering Indicators 1996, concerns about funding for research are well founded. Data gathered by the National Science Board indicate that total spending on research in the United States has been in steady decline during the 1990s.

Industry has held the research and development line item steady at about $97 billion since 1987, but the value has dropped about 1.5$ per year in real dollars (adjusted for inflation). In that same period, the government contribution to R&D has dropped 20% from its peak in 1987. Overall R&D has dropped from 2.8% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1991 to 2.4% in 1995, and spending on nondefense research has dropped below 2% of the GDP. Japan now invests 2.7% in nondefense R&D; Germany, 2.4%.