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  Cover Story  
  November 15,  2004
Volume 82, Number 46
pp. 37-41

Chemical research sector showed emphatic growth in 2002, topping the average for science as a whole
ON SCREEN Steven A. Soper (right), chemistry professor at Louisiana State University, and graduate student Jason Emory develop new methods for analyzing biological macromolecules.


In fiscal 2002, the picture for academic research and development continued to brighten. Total academic R&D spending expanded 10.9% to reach $36.3 billion in that year, the latest for which figures are available from the National Science Foundation. That healthy growth spurt surpasses the previous year's 9.0% rise, as well as the 6.8% annual average for the previous decade.

The numbers look strong even when inflation is taken into account. On a constant-dollar basis, total academic R&D spending rose 9.0% between 2001 and 2002. Chemistry topped that performance by expanding 9.9% from 2001 to 2002 in constant dollars.

Between 1992 and 2002, total academic R&D spending rose a total of 60.2% in constant dollars compared with 93.1% in current dollars. Chemistry spending fared nowhere near as well, however, expanding just 32.9% in constant dollars and 60.1% in current dollars.

The federal government provides the lion's share of the funds used in academe for R&D. In 2002, the federal portion of these funds grew to 60.1% of the total. Institutional funds accounted for a further 19.6%, followed by state and local government at 6.9% and industry at 6.0%.

Academe remains a bastion for basic research. Nearly three-quarters of R&D spending in 2002 went to basic as opposed to applied research, continuing an expansion in share that has been under way since 1994.

Life sciences accounted for 58.9% of science and engineering R&D spending in 2002. The $21.4 billion that poured into the field represented an 11.4% increase over the prior year. Investment in the chemical sector--which accounted for just 3.1% of the science and engineering total--did even better, expanding 11.9% to $1.13 billion. Funding for chemical engineering R&D in academe rose 3.9% to $430 million.

The University of California, San Francisco, topped the chart of schools spending the most on chemical R&D. It nearly doubled its investment, to $27.3 million, in 2002. Likewise, the University of Texas, Austin, almost doubled its chemical R&D spending, to $22.8 million. The University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, rounded out the top four, spending $21.8 million and $21.0 million, respectively.

ALL TOLD, federal support for chemical R&D totaled $737 million in 2002, an impressive 11.5% rise over the prior year. The federal government poured $147 million into chemical R&D support at the top 10 institutions in 2002, led by its $20.9 million investment at UC San Francisco. Massachusetts Institute of Technology received $16.4 million, while UC Berkeley was given $15.9 million.

Federal support for chemical engineering R&D continued its expansion in 2002, growing 6.5% to $229 million. Schools spending the most on chemical engineering R&D in 2002 included North Carolina State University, which spent $18.9 million; MIT, $15.1 million; and Pennsylvania State University, $14.1 million.

Federal funding for chemical research equipment waxes and wanes dramatically over time. Support jumped 29.2% to $74.8 million in 2002 after shrinking 8.5% the previous year. Stanford University and Florida State University garnered the largest shares, receiving $2.3 million and $2.2 million, respectively, in 2002.

Florida State topped spending on chemical research equipment that year, with an output of $4.5 million, followed by Indiana University, which spent $3.4 million. In all, the federal government provided nearly two-thirds of the $120 million that schools spent on such equipment in 2002.

In 2002, the number of students seeking graduate degrees in chemistry rose 3.7% from the number in 2001, to 19,046, the highest level since 1996. In chemical engineering, 7,414 students sought graduate degrees in 2002, an increase of 7.2% over 2001.

Postdoctoral appointments in chemistry inched up 2.3% to 3,950 in 2002, while chemical engineering appointments gained 28.2% to 737.

Data presented here were drawn primarily from NSF's WebCASPAR database of academic science and engineering statistics, which can be found at http://caspar.nsf.gov. Further statistical information came from sources such as the annual Academic Research & Development Expenditures report, managed by Mary M. (Marge) Machen of NSF's Division of Science Resources Statistics. That report and other data can be viewed at http://www. nsf.gov/sbe/srs/rdexp/start.htm.

Note that numbers from different tables may not match because of rounding.


Download a PDF Of Academic R&D Spending Tables (1.4MB)

The PDF includes the following Tables:

1. Character of Academic R&D Spending

2. Sources of Academic R&D Spending

3. Fields of Academic R&D

4. Federally Financed R&D Spending At Universities

5. Top 30 Universities In 2002 R&D Spending

6. Schools Spending Most On Chemical R&D

7. Schools With Most Federal Support For Chemical R&D

8. Schools Spending Most on Chemical Engineering R&D

9. Federal Support For Chemical Engineering R&D

10. University Spending For Research Equipment

11. Schools Spending Most on Chemical Research Equipment

12. Federal Support For Chemical Research Equipment

13. Graduate Science Students

14. Foreign Graduate Students

15. Postdoctoral Positions


  Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2004

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