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Viewing Federal Research Spending

An interactive chart shows how little the U.S. spends on R&D.
February 24, 2011

The House of Representatives has proposed big cuts in energy R&D, and President Obama has proposed big increases. But no matter which plan prevails (and presumably there will be some sort of a compromise), R&D will remain a tiny sliver of the overall budget. Total non-defense R&D would amount to just 1.7 percent of the budget under the President’s plan, and just 1.5 percent under the House plan (based on budget figures from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the White House.)

For a good look at where the big money actually goes, click on the visualization below, which will take you to an interactive that shows expenditures as a percent of GDP, going back several decades. (From this blog, via the NYTimes.)The data is lifted directly from government historical budget tables. Funding for research can be found under “Other Functions.”

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