US R&D Spending Slipping in 2013

“U.S. R&D Declines Again in Real Dollars,” headlined the 2013 Battelle/R&D Magazine Global Funding Forecast released in December, 2012 (www.rdmag.com). However, the picture got bleaker when the annual forecast was updated earlier this year to account for the impacts of the U.S. federal budget sequestration. 

The initial forecast called for U.S. spending on R&D to decline 0.7% in 2013 after adjusting for 1.9% inflation. Yet, Battelle’s February, 2013 revision projected a decline of 3.7% in “real” terms. Moreover, R&D performed by industry was forecast to decrease by 1.8% to $288.6 billion from 2012 in real terms.

“The big decline in overall U.S. R&D for 2013 is coming from the cutbacks in federal R&D (both intramural and funding to academia) stemming from sequestration,” Battelle research leader and report co-author Martin Grueber told CIMS IMR in June.

“Sequestration will hit some companies a bit in 2013 in terms of their federally-funded projects (not as hard as intramural and academia will be impacted) and others (or some of the same companies) will likely reduce or slow down some of their internal R&D investments related to their federal contracts, as the future (or timeliness) of these activities, including procurements, come into question,” Grueber said. However, “summer is always tricky and sometimes we see surprises when July-Aug-Sept data comes out,” he added.

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