US R&D Investments Dwindling (Bloomblerg & MIT)

When R&D investments should be increasing, the US keeps reducing these. Worrisome. Read the article based on an MIT report here.

“Reduced federal spending on research and development poses “the risk of a widening innovation deficit in America relative to the rest of the world,” according to Joseph Quinlan, chief market strategist at U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management”. 

US Losing R&D Edge (2015 MIT Study)

MIT authors warn government is spending ever-smaller share of budget on basic research. “Though the U.S. leads the world in total R&D outlays, Europe and Asia have been raising their government investment. The Battelle Memorial Institute, a basic-research lab, and R&D Magazine estimated in 2013 that China would spend more than $600 billion annually on R&D by the early 2020s, making it the world’s biggest such investor. The same report estimated that U.S. R&D spending would total $465 billion, or 2.8% of gross domestic product, in 2014. For China, spending was pegged at $284 billion, or 2% of GDP.”

Read the WSJ article here. Download the MIT report hereThe U.S. spent 9.1% of the federal government’s annual budget on R&D in 1968. Today the percentage has shrunk to 3.6%.

Tougher Now to Earn a University Degree in the US (Pell Institute Report)

A new report from the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education and the University of Pennsylvania’s Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy shows that poor students have a more difficult time obtaining a college degree today than 45 years ago.

Read the Education Dive article here. Download the Pell Institute report here.

Pres. Obama’s Plan to Lower Cost of College

President Obama announced the proposal on August 22 2013. Basically, the proposal aims at making colleges and universities more accountable and affordable by rating them, and, linking federal aid to educational outcomes. Ratings of would be based on tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend.

It would have been awesome if the ratings included learning outcomes assessments and alignment with regional/national economic development (industry) needs!

US Innovation Policy for Global Economy (US National Academies)

“This report argues that far more vigorous attention be paid to capturing the outputs of innovation – the commercial products, the industries, and particularly high-quality jobs to restore full employment. America’s economic and national security future depends on our succeeding in this endeavor.”

Agreed. But this will not happen unless 1) there’s an articulated, systemic partnership and investment on research AND talent development, and 2) if the NSF supports industry R&D as well as international R&D (of course, in partnership with universities, national labs and other interested parties). Other countries, who have learned from our innovation strategies are now surpassing the US with these kinds of investments.

Download free report in pdf at:

US R&D Spending Declined in 2009 but Outpaced the Economy (NSF InfoBrief)

Spending on research and development conducted in the United States in 2009 totaled $400.5 billion (current dollars), somewhat below the 2008 level of $403.0 billion, although still well above the $377.0 billion spent in 2007. Although the level of total R&D dropped in 2009 by 0.6%, the depth of the decline was much less than the 2.5% decline in gross domestic product.

Business R&D performance grew on average at 6.3% annually from 2004 to 2009, outpacing the rates of growth of both U.S. R&D at 5.8% and GDP at 3.3%

For more details: NSF US R&D March 2012