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Research Funding

How the US is faring in science funding and outcomes compared with other countries

National Science Board report continues to show China closing in on or overtaking the US

by Andrea Widener
January 21, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 3


  • $657.5 billion

    Gross domestic spending by the US on research and development in 2019, followed by China, with $525.7 billion

  • 27.3%

    US share of worldwide spending on R&D in 2019, down from 37.1% in 2000

  • 21.9%

    China’s share of worldwide spending on R&D in 2019, up from 4.5% in 2000

  • 669,700

    Science and engineering publications from organizations in China in 2020, followed by US organizations, with 455,900

  • 49%

    Share of international patents granted to inventors in China in 2020, followed by Japan, with 15%, and the US, with 10%

  • 71%

    Proportion of total US R&D spending by businesses in 2019, followed by 21% for the US government

  • 40.7%

    Proportion of basic research funded by the US government in 2019, followed by business, with 30.6%

  • 44.2%

    Proportion of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher in the US science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workforce in 2019

  • 42.4%

    Proportion of US workers in the physical sciences with a PhD in 2019 who were not born in the US. In addition, 20.5% of physical scientists with a master’s and 11.4% with a bachelor’s were not born in the US.

  • 50%

    Proportion of US workers in science and engineering fields in 2019 who were born in Asia, including 22% from India and 11% from China

Source: National Science Board, The State of US Science and Engineering 2022.


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