Providing timely, comprehensive, and independent analyses of federal research & development funding trends since 1976.


Research by Science and Engineering Discipline

DiscPieThe information below contains detailed information on federal investments in research across disciplines. The federal government has historically invested in a broad range of research activities in the physical, life, social, and environmental sciences, in mathematics and computing, and other disciplines. In recent years, life sciences research — particularly at NIH, which enjoyed a budget doubling through 2003 — has come to take up a major share of the federal portfolio. The America COMPETES Act was originally passed in 2007 as an attempt to boost funding for the physical sciences agencies to “catch up” with NIH, though the results have been mixed.

Photo_evergladesCurrent data on federal support for research by science and engineering discipline are collected by the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), particularly their Federal Funds for Research and Development data series, which is the major source for many of the charts and data below. These data can have often a lag time of two years or, in the case of detailed subfield information, up to four years. If you have questions about any of the material you see here, contact us.


Series Chart Data Last Update
Total by Discipline, 1970 – 2011 PNG Excel April 2013
Disciplines by Share of Total, 1970-2011 PNG Excel April 2013
Disciplines by GDP, 1970-2011 PNG Excel April 2013

Disciplines and Subfields

Series Chart Data Last Update
Mathematical / Computer Sciences PNG    
Environmental Sciences PNG    
Physical Sciences PNG    
Life Sciences PNG Excel April 2013
Psychology PNG    
Social Sciences PNG    
Engineering PNG    

Funding by Agency

Series Chart Data Last Update
Dept. of Agriculture PNG    
Dept. of Commerce PNG    
Dept. of Defense PNG    
Dept. of Energy PNG    
Dept. of Health and Human Services PNG    
Dept. of Homeland Security PNG    
Dept. of the Interior PNG Excel April 2013
Dept. of Transportation PNG    
Dept. of Veterans Affairs PNG    
Environmental Protection Agency PNG    
National Aeronautics and Space Administration PNG    
National Science Foundation PNG    


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