CAREER BRIEF

Research funding for US universities up for first time in five years in 2016

Non-profit organizations and other funding sources also funnelled more into academic research.

US federal funding of academic research and development (R&D) increased between 2015 and 2016 for the first time since 2010, according to data from the US National Science Foundation (NSF).

When adjusted for inflation, federal funding for academic R&D rose by 1.4% during that period, former President Barack Obama’s last year in office, the data show. The NSF examined 640 US institutions that reported at least US$1 million in R&D outlays during their previous fiscal year.

Universities reported increases in research funding from all major federal agencies except the NSF. Research funded by NASA and the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy and Health and Human Services — of which the US National Institutes of Health is part — rose between about 2% and 8% over 2015.

Research funded by nonprofit organizations soared by 9.4% to $4.6 billion. Nonfederal funding from other national or federal governments, other universities or from donations also surged, rising nearly 9% to $2.2 billion in 2016.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-017-08456-2
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