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Policy

Company Spending On U.S. R&D Rises

by Andrea Widener
August 31, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 34

CORRECTION: This story was updated on Oct. 8, 2015, to correct the chemical manufacturing R&D spending figures to billions of dollars.

Annual business spending on research and development in the U.S. rose almost 7% in 2013 to $323 billion, a report from the National Science Foundation shows. The biggest increase was in research supported by companies themselves, with spending up 7.1% to $265 billion from 2012 to 2013, the most recent year for which data are available. Funding from external sources was also up, rising 4.8% to $58 billion. At the same time, the federal government’s support for research at companies fell 4.1% to $29 billion. The chemical manufacturing sector’s R&D reflected a similar trend to industry overall, with a 7.7% increase in U.S.-based R&D to $62 billion in 2013. Chemical companies paid for most of that research with $54 billion in internal R&D spending, up 6.7%. Foreign companies increased payments for chemical research at U.S. companies, up 21.5% to $5.6 billion. Meanwhile, federal spending on chemical industry R&D was down 3.5%. Pharmaceutical production, a subset of chemical manufacturing, had among the highest R&D spending as a percentage of sales at 10.3%, compared with 4.5% for the sector overall.

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