October 25, 2021

R&D Spending Increases in FY 2020

R&D Spending Increases in FY 2020

By: Sydney Sheffield 

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, part of the National Science Foundation (NSF), published the FY 2020 Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) Research and Development Survey Report. Conducted annually for university administered FFRDCs since FY 1953 and all FFRDCs since FY 2001, the survey collects information on research and development (R&D) expenditures by the source of funds and types of research and expenses. 

In total, the nation’s 42 FFRDCs spent $23.5 billion on R&D in 2020, an annual 3.4% increase. For the seventh consecutive year, the federal government’s share of support reached $23.1 billion in FY 2020 and represented a 3.6% increase in federal R&D support to FFRDCs. Also, total FFRDC R&D expenditures rose an average of 0.9% annually from 2011 to 2020. 

The national lab R&D funding increased by $777 million over the last fiscal year. This was due to increased federal government support, as R&D from all other sources, including industry, and state governments dropped in FY 2020. The majority of FFRDCs increased R&D spending in FY 2020 compared with FY 2019, with 6 centers reporting an increase greater than 10%. Nine FFRDCs reported more than $1 billion each (a combined $16.4 billion) in R&D expenditures for FY 2020: 

Sandia National Laboratories was the largest performer, with almost $3.4 billion in total R&D. Los Alamos National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory reported the largest dollar increases in R&D of any centers, increasing by $261 million and $162 million, respectively, in FY 2020. Lower expenditures were recorded by 16 FFRDCs in FY 2020, with 2 centers declining more than 10%. Thirty-three centers reported larger expenditures in FY 2020 compared to FY 2016.

Check out the full report here, along with previous year tables and reports.