Federal government spending on science and technology, 2015/2016 (intentions)
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Federal government spending on scientific and technological activities is expected to increase by 2.1% from last fiscal year to $10.8 billion in 2015/2016. Science and technology spending by federal departments and agencies reached its highest level in 2010/2011 at $12.0 billion.
Science and technology is composed of two types of sciences, natural sciences and engineering as well as social sciences and humanities. Anticipated federal government spending in the natural sciences and engineering is $8.2 billion in 2015/2016, up 0.9% from 2014/2015. This represents over three-quarters of total science and technology expenditures. Expenditures in the social sciences and humanities are expected to increase by 6.2% from the previous year to $2.6 billion.
Science and technology spending also encompasses two types of activities, research and development as well as related scientific activities. Research and development activities are expected to increase 0.6% in 2015/2016 to account for almost two-thirds or $6.8 billion of the total federal science and technology expenditures. Spending on related scientific activities is anticipated to increase by 4.9% from 2014/2015 to $4.0 billion.
Federal government science and technology spending is also categorized by intramural (or in-house) and extramural expenditures. Intramural expenditures are expected to account for 52.3% ($5.7 billion) of the total science and technology expenditures for 2015/2016, up 4.6% compared with 2014/2015. Extramural expenditures are anticipated to account for 47.7% ($5.2 billion) of the total expenditures, down 0.5% compared with 2014/2015. The higher education sector is anticipated to be the largest extramural performer, accounting for 60.9% of total extramural science and technology expenditures in 2015/2016, followed by the business enterprise sector at 19.1%.
Federal departments and agencies reported that they anticipate 34,799 full-time equivalent positions to be engaged in science and technology activities in 2015/2016, down 1.4% from the previous year. More than half (54.8%) of these positions are expected to be in the scientific and professional category.
Note to readers
New estimates for federal science and technology spending are now available for fiscal years 2013/2014 to 2015/2016. Historical data on science and technology spending by federal departments and agencies are available starting from 1995/1996.
The Federal Science Expenditures and Personnel, Activities in the Social Sciences and Natural Sciences is an annual survey of all federal government departments and agencies believed to be performing or funding science and technology activities. Data for this release cycle were collected between September 8, 2014, and January 9, 2015.
Research and development is defined as creative work with an appreciable element of novelty and uncertainty undertaken in a systematic manner to increase the stock of scientific and technical knowledge. Related scientific activities are focused on the generation, dissemination and application of scientific and technical knowledge.
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