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The Future of Science and Technology in the Pacific Northwest:
Trends and Indicators
Center for Science, Technology, and Congress
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The AAAS Board of Directors, in accordance with Association policy, has approved publication of this report as a contribution to the understanding of an important policy consideration. The interpretations and conclusions are those of the authors and do not purport to represent the views of the Board or the Council of the Association.
This project is funded by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The Corporation does not take responsibility for any statements or views expressed in this report.
Copyright © 1997 by the
American Association for the Advancement of Science
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Washington, DC 20005
Tables and Charts
After nearly 50 years of steadily increasing budgets, the U.S. research community is facing the prospect of significantly reduced federal funding. Efforts to balance the budget and reduce the size of the federal government have created great uncertainty about the future of federal funding for science and technology. Although science and technology funding fared relatively well in FY 1997, outyear projections by both the President and Congress indicate it will decrease significantly as discretionary spending falls over the next several years. At the same time, the congressional agenda is increasingly dominated by issues involving science and technology, and polls continue to show strong support for R&D among the American people.
In January 1996, the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Center for Science, Technology, and Congress undertook to produce a series of reports to provide information on the state and regional impacts of federal R&D spending and to organize a series of meetings associated with these reports. This report on science and technology in the Pacific Northwest was prepared for presentation at the AAAS Annual Meeting and Science Innovation Exposition 1997 (AMSIE '97) in Seattle, Washington.
The goal of this project is to help the research community, both industrial and academic, state and federal lawmakers, and local opinion leaders better understand the effects of current trends in public and private sector R&D spending in key regions of the U.S. We also want to provide practical information to Congress and the public about the role of science and technology, including federal, state, and industrial R&D, in the economies of various states.
In gathering information for The Future of Science and Technology in the Pacific Northwest: Trends and Indicators, we used the most recent data available from the National Science Foundation. Because of the complexity of collecting information on a state-by-state basis, especially with regard to industry spending, the most recent NSF data details obligations from fiscal year 1994 and expenditures during the 1993 calendar year. The numbers may change as data for more recent years become available. We have augmented the NSF data with additional research and with projections of future government spending based on outyear funding data from the President's budget request and the FY 1997 congressional budget resolution. The report provides a statistical portrait of the Pacific Northwest's R&D activity as a region and an overview of R&D in Oregon and Washington; examines the distribution of federal R&D funding in the states; discusses university-based research, federal laboratories and FFRDCs; and assesses the potential future impacts of trends in R&D spending.
We would like to thank the Carnegie Corporation of New York for supporting the AAAS Center for Science, Technology, and Congress; Kei Koizumi for his efforts in assembling the data and for drafting this report; and Steve Nelson for reviewing the report.
|Albert H. Teich
AAAS Science and Policy
|Matthew L. Zimmerman
AAAS Center for Science,
Technology, and Congress
Oregon and Washington, the two states of the Pacific Northwest, are home to diverse industries, including aerospace, computer software, fishing, and agriculture, that are dependent on research and development for new products and processes. The Pacific Northwest's R&D totaled $6.2 billion in 1993. The federal government in FY 1994 contributed $1.3 billion in R&D funds to the region.
Washington devoted $5.4 billion or 4.2 percent of its Gross State Product (GSP) to R&D in 1993, far higher than the 2.7 percent national average. The state is home to Boeing and Microsoft as well as many small companies in the booming biotechnology and medical technology industries. These industries are strong exporters and rely heavily on R&D for their continued success.
Oregon's R&D totaled $774 million in 1993, the latest year for which detailed statistics are available. High-technology companies such as Intel and Hewlett-Packard have significant operations in the state. The federal government provided $286 million in R&D funds to the state in FY 1994 to support a diversified research effort in agricultural resources, the health sciences, and natural and biological resources.
In FY 1994, Pacific Northwest universities and colleges received $468 million in federal R&D, the largest share of which ($261 million) came from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The University of Washington received $278 million for federal R&D in FY 1994, placing it second in the nation among universities receiving federal R&D funds. The university relies on the federal government to finance over 80 percent of its research, and this research has helped to develop a growing biotechnology and medical technology industry in the Seattle area. The university also ranks third in the nation among universities receiving the most industrial funds for R&D.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the largest sponsor of federal R&D in the Pacific Northwest, providing $387 million in FY 1994. Most of these funds went to the region's universities and colleges, although a significant portion went to nonprofit research institutions such as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, which received $62 million.
The Department of Defense (DOD) is the second-largest supporter of R&D in the Pacific Northwest, providing $312 million in FY 1994. Most of these funds went to Boeing and other defense contractors for development work on new weapons systems such as the F-22 fighter.
Congressional and Administration budget plans call for nondefense R&D to decline by nearly 25 percent in real terms by 2002. Recent budget plans call for defense R&D to decline by up to a third in real terms over the next six years. If these plans are followed, federal support for R&D in the Pacific Northwest could decline significantly.
The Pacific NorthwestOregon and Washingtonhas long been renowned for its spectacular natural beauty, from the Olympic and Cascade Mountains to the Columbia River to Puget Sound. This region has long relied on natural resources for its economic health on industries ranging from salmon fishing to timber to tourism.
Recently, however, Oregon and Washington have emerged as leading players in the increasingly global economy through a new set of export-oriented and high-technology industries. The Boeing Company, a major defense contractor with headquarters in Seattle and major facilities in Everett, is the nation's largest exporter by dollar volume because of the worldwide demand for its commercial aircraft. Microsoft, based in Redmond, has emerged within the past decade as the vanguard of the U.S.-dominated computer software sector, with spectacular annual sales growth spurred by the continual development of new technologies and products. Intel, with operations in Hillsboro, OR, and DuPont, WA, and Hewlett-Packard in Corvallis, OR, provide sophisticated computer hardware to complement the expanding software industry. Though still small in absolute size, the burgeoning biotechnology and medical technology industries centered around Seattle promise to be leading industries in the 21st century.
Research and development are an integral part of the Pacific Northwest economy. In 1993, the latest year for which comprehensive figures on industrial as well as federal R&D expenditures are available, the region received $6.2 billion for R&D from all sources, of which $5.4 billion was spent in Washington and $774 million in Oregon (see Table 1).
The Pacific Northwest relies heavily on industrial R&D for the strength of its R&D enterprise, but the federal role is also vital. In FY 1994, the most recent year for which statistics on federal government obligations are available, the federal government obligated $1.3 billion in funds for R&D to the Pacific Northwest. Of this amount, the largest share went to the region's universities and colleges, followed by industrial firms, government labs, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) in Richland, WA (see Chart 3). Federal funds support over two-thirds of the research conducted in the region's universities, all the R&D performed at PNNL and the federal labs, and nearly all of the defense-related R&D performed by industrial firms.
The flow of federal R&D funds to the region has been declining over time both in absolute and relative terms. Although the two states account for 3.3 percent of the U.S. population, they receive only 1.9 percent of federal R&D funds. As Chart 7 shows, this percentage has been declining steadily over time from a peak of nearly 5 percent 20 years ago. Chart 6 shows that, in constant dollars, there have been fluctuations, but the overall trend is downward. This downward trend can be explained mainly by shifts in defense R&D. Boeing receives most of its federal R&D funds from the Department of Defense (DOD) and has been subject to post-Cold War cutbacks and ups and downs due to specific contracts being awarded or completed. Defense cutbacks have also affected DOE's support for PNNL, a major center for nuclear materials production that is downsizing and reorienting its mission to environmental restoration.
Private industrial firms dominate R&D in the Pacific Northwest. Of the $6.2 billion in R&D performed in the Pacific Northwest in 1993, $4.3 billion (69 percent) was funded by industry and $5.2 billion (83 percent) was performed by industry from a mixture of industrial and federal funds. Because the research-intensive industries in the region expend their own funds on new technology development, these ratios are higher in the region than for the nation as a whole. Nationwide, 58 percent of total R&D is funded by industry and 71 percent is performed by industry (see Charts 1 and 2).
Of the $296 million in federal R&D to industrial firms in Oregon and Washington, DOD provided $219 million to Boeing and other defense contractors for the development of a variety of weapons systems, including the F-22 fighter plane.
Universities, Colleges, and Other Nonprofit Institutions
The Pacific Northwest's universities and colleges won 3.9 percent of the federal government's support of university R&D, for a total of $468 million in FY 1994. The region's strength in university R&D is primarily due to the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, which received $278 million from the federal government for R&D in FY 1994, placing it in second place behind only Johns Hopkins University in Maryland among universities receiving the most federal R&D funds. UW alone received 2.3 percent of all government support for university R&D that year (see Table 2). Two other universities, Oregon State University (#65) and Oregon Health Sciences University (#74), rank among the top 100 university recipients of federal R&D funds.
The region's universities and colleges rely heavily on the federal government to finance their research (see Table 3). In FY 1994, 69 percent of Pacific Northwest universities' R&D was financed by the federal government, higher than the national average of 60 percent. UW is extraordinary in that it relies on federal funds to finance 82 percent of its research.
The primary federal supporter of university research in the Pacific Northwest is the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which provided $261 million for R&D in FY 1994, mainly through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH alone provides over a third of research funds from all sources, federal or non-federal, in Pacific Northwest universities. This funding is a primary source of the new knowledge that has led to the development of a thriving biotechnology and medical technology industry in the Seattle area. The industry also benefits from HHS research funds to the region's nonprofit research institutions, including nonprofit hospitals, the largest of which is the world-renowned Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center ($62 million in HHS funds in FY 1994) in Seattle. In all, $117 million in HHS R&D funds went to medical research at nonprofits in Oregon and Washington in FY 1994.
Federal Laboratories and FFRDCs
The Pacific Northwest boasts an extensive network of federal laboratories that perform research related to the region's abundant natural resources. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) spent $89 million, or nearly 6 percent, of its FY 1994 R&D budget in Washington and Oregon, of which the majority went to its laboratories. They conduct research on crops such as apples and pears that are important to the states' economies. The Department of the Interior, through its U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), maintains several labs and field stations to conduct research on the special natural resource needs of the region, such as the spawning habits of salmon in the Columbia River and the potential impacts of global climate change on Olympic National Park. USGS also conducts research on volcanoes and other natural hazards at the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington. Finally, the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains two major laboratories in Seattle, the Pacific Northwest Marine Laboratory and the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Other NOAA laboratories in the region conduct research aimed at conserving and developing the region's rich fisheries and other aquatic resources.
The Pacific Northwest is home to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) in Richland, WA, which received $198 million for R&D in FY 1994, mostly from DOE. FFRDCs are government-owned facilities which, unlike government laboratories, are operated and managed either by universities, industrial firms, or nonprofit organizations under contract for the federal government. There are a total of 39 FFRDCs in the United States, including nine large DOE-funded multiprogram national labs. PNNL is operated by Battelle Memorial Institute and employs over 3700 people to conduct R&D on environmental science and technology, mostly to support DOE's cleanup obligations at the neighboring Hanford Nuclear Reservation, where plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons was produced for over four decades. DOE faces the task of cleaning up Hanford's four decades' worth of nuclear waste from plutonium production, at an estimated cost of over $50 billion over the next few decades. From its creation in 1965 as an entity separate from DOE's Hanford operations, PNNL has evolved into a multiprogram laboratory with R&D in areas as diverse as health, energy, and the global environment in addition to its core environmental mission.
Outlook and Conclusion
Since FY 1975, the Pacific Northwest's share of total federal support for R&D has been in slow decline from nearly 5 percent to less than 2 percent today. The wrenching transition from a level of extreme military readiness during the Cold War, when defense dollars flowed to contractors such as Boeing and when DOE's nuclear materials production was in full gear, to a downsized military is more or less complete for the region.
As in the nation as a whole, federal support of R&D in the Pacific Northwest has helped to build a strong R&D enterprise. Federal support for R&D has been especially important for the region's universities, which not only perform research at the frontiers of knowledge but also attract faculty and students from all over the world and catalyze the development of new industries. Federal funds have also helped to sustain the region's privately funded R&D, through the support of graduate education of scientists and engineers at the region's universities who go on to staff industrial R&D labs, and also through linkages between federal and private R&D, especially evident in Boeing's case where its substantial privately funded R&D effort builds on the foundation of decades of federal support for aeronautics R&D and the transfer of military technologies to commercial applications. Federal R&D also helps to sustain entire industries, for example by providing vital information on salmon behavior and better techniques for apple growing.
The continued strength of the region's R&D institutions as they prepare to enter the 21st century, however, is in doubt. The national outlook for R&D funding is one of uncertainty mixed with pessimism. Although the Pacific Northwest receives only 2 percent of total federal R&D, that small percentage still translates into more than $1 billion annually.
The region has managed to shift its research focus so that it is less dependent on the defense funding agencies than in decades past. Nationally, defense R&D now stands at 75 percent of the peak Cold War spending level in FY 1987 after a decade of steady decline. But growth in federal support for nondefense R&D has failed to keep pace with inflation in recent years, suggesting that the Pacific Northwest's transition to shrinking federal support is far from complete.
Congress and the President are committed to balancing the federal budget by FY 2002. Both sides have submitted several balanced budget plans since 1995, and although they differ significantly in detailsenough that no compromise plan has emerged even after two years of negotiationsthe plans all share one crucial aspect: they rely heavily on cuts in discretionary spending to achieve a balanced budget. Because all federal R&D is funded through the discretionary portion of the budget, this has profound implications for federal R&D to the Pacific Northwest. AAAS analyses of the various budget plans show that they call for inflation-adjusted reductions in nondefense R&D ranging from 18 to 33 percent over the time period 1995 to 2002.
So far, R&D has fared relatively well amid budget cutbacks, and the cutbacks have not been as severe as the congressional and Presidential budget plans had first projected. NIH, the largest sponsor of nondefense R&D, has won increases greater than the rate of inflation throughout the 1990s, because of strong political support for biomedical research. Other major R&D funding agencies, however, are now facing declining budgets. Nondefense R&D funding agencies excluding NIH have seen their R&D budgets decline by 10 percent in inflation-adjusted terms between FY 1994, the latest year for which detailed state statistics are available, and FY 1997, the current fiscal year. DOD R&D has also declined slightly in real terms during this period.
Although detailed state-level data on the effects of these cutbacks are not available, there is already evidence to suggest that they are being felt in the Pacific Northwest. The University of Washington reports that its income from federal grants in 1996 was less than in 1995, after more than a decade of solid growth. Although NIH grants to UW showed an 8 percent increase (before inflation), awards from all other agencies declined by 10 percent in just one year. As a result, federal funding of UW R&D is expected to drop below the FY 1994 level of 82 percent of the university's total.
The Pacific Northwest's strength in privately funded R&D may shelter the region's economy somewhat from federal R&D cutbacks, especially if the region's companies can continue to exploit expanding overseas markets for their technologically sophisticated products. But the region's universities, dependent on the federal government for more than two-thirds of their research funding, are likely to feel the full impact of any cuts. The region's federal labs and PNNL, of course, are dependent on federal funds for all of their research.
Whether these cutbacks will continue is uncertain, because the budget projections are not cast in concrete. However, with both Congress and the President committed to balancing the budget by FY 2002 without raising taxes and without (so far) seriously tackling the growth of entitlement programs, substantial reductions in overall discretionary spending seem inescapable. R&D is part of the discretionary component of the federal budget. It has grown in tandem with increases in discretionary spending. It is likely to decline as the discretionary pie shrinks. The consequences for the future of the Pacific Northwest's R&D institutions, both government and private, and for the region's economy could be profound.
Oregon is home to 3.1 million people, making it the 29th largest state in population. It is also the 29th-ranked state in terms of R&D performed, with a total of $774 million in 1993 out of a national total of $166 billion. Research and development is relatively less important as a part of the state's economy than in the nation as a whole: R&D is about 1.2 percent of the state's Gross State Product, while for the U.S. R&D is 2.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The federal government distributed $286 million in R&D funds to institutions in Oregon for FY 1994, the latest year for which detailed statistics are available, placing it 30th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in federal R&D received (see Oregon table).
Although less research-intensive than Washington, Oregon is nevertheless host to a number of internationally-known high-technology firms. Tektronix, a measurement, color printing, and video and networking company with headquarters in Wilsonville, had sales of $1.8 billion in 1996 and employed 4,500 people in Oregon. To maintain its market leadership and its export strength (half of its sales are outside the U.S.), Tektronix regularly invests 10 percent of its revenues in R&D. Tektronix is the recipient of an Advanced Technology Program grant from the Department of Commerce for the development of interactive video technology, and also receives funds from DOD's Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency for high-speed video technologies.
Oregon also hosts satellite operations of high-tech companies based in other states. The Intel Corporation, the state's fifth-largest private-sector employer, currently employs 6,700 at its semiconductor manufacturing facility in Hillsboro and recently announced plans to expand. R&D on next-generation semiconductor manufacturing processes is performed there, and this effort is expected to grow as Intel concentrates its efforts on developing the next generation of processing chips. Intel in Oregon is performing R&D for the Department of Energy and recently announced the successful demonstration of a machine capable of performing one trillion calculations a second by linking together standard Pentium-based computers. Hewlett-Packard employs 4,000 at a manufacturing facility in Corvallis and also performs product development work at the site.
Oregon is home to several research universities, which together received $144 million in R&D from federal sources in FY 1994 (see Table 2). The largest recipient was Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, with $59 million, followed by Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) in Portland ($49 million) and the University of Oregon in Eugene ($35 million). The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the dominant funding source for Oregon universities ($62 million total) because of its strong support for OHSU, which receives nearly 90 percent of its federal dollars from HHS.
OSU, because of its status as a land-grant university, received $15 million in FY 1994 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its agricultural research programs. The university also is host to a number of USDA laboratory units. OSU also received $18 million from NSF for research encompassing a variety of disciplines.
Federal laboratories in Oregon perform research aimed at maximizing economic opportunities from the state's natural resources. Federal laboratories received $60 million in R&D funds in FY 1994. USDA has the most extensive network in the state, with five agricultural research units in Burns, Corvallis, and Pendleton receiving a total of $22 million. The Department of the Interior also maintains several research units in the state, including the Forest and Rangeland Ecosystems Science Center in Corvallis. The Interior laboratories, which received $21 million for R&D in FY 1994, focus on the biological resources of the state, including research on genetic and behavioral differences between wild and hatchery-based salmon and research on biodiversity in Oregon. The Department of Commerce operates a research unit in Portland which investigates fisheries management issues.
Nonprofit research institutions received $31 million in R&D funds from the federal government in FY 1994, of which $30 million came from HHS to finance biomedical research. The Medical Research Foundation of Oregon received $11 million, followed by the Oregon Research Institute (ORI) in Eugene ($8 million) and various hospitals around the state. ORI's 22 research scientists perform basic and applied behavioral sciences research. Most of its funding comes from the National Institute of Mental Health, a unit of the National Institutes of Health.
Washington, the 15th most populous state with a population of 5.4 million, is a leader in R&D and technology-intensive industries. R&D accounts for 4.2 percent of the state's economy, in contrast to 2.7 percent for the nation as a whole. Out of a total state economy of $130 billion, R&D accounted for $5.4 billion in 1993. Washington ranks 11th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in R&D performance.
In FY 1994, the latest year for which detailed figures are available, the federal government obligated $1.0 billion in R&D funds to Washington (see Washington table). The three largest funding agencies, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS, $291 million), the Department of Defense (DOD, $274 million), and the Department of Energy (DOE, $221 million), are fairly evenly matched with about a quarter of the total each, while other agencies split the remaining quarter.
Industrial firms received $252 million in federal R&D funds in FY 1994, but most industrial R&D in Washington is funded by companies' own funds (82 percent). Washington is home to two of the largest and most technology-intensive companies in the U.S., Boeing and Microsoft, and the Seattle area is the nucleus of a burgeoning biotechnology and medical technology industry.
The Boeing Company, after several rough years in the early 1990s, has a large backlog of orders that will carry the company through the latter half of the 1990s with record revenues. In late 1996, Boeing announced that it would merge with McDonnell Douglas, its major U.S. competitor in aerospace and defense. The McDonnell Douglas merger follows on Boeing's acquisition of Rockwell International's aerospace and defense units in 1996. The resulting company will have 200,000 employees in 27 states. Combined sales of $48 billion are anticipated in 1997.
Boeing has long been closely associated with Washington's economic prosperity, with headquarters in Seattle and major production and research facilities in nearby Everett. Boeing is consistently the leading U.S. exporter by dollar volume. Boeing's Washington employment was projected to stand near 82,000 at the end of 1996, a gain of 10,000 from the year before. Boeing estimates that it purchases $12 billion in equipment and services annually from U.S. companies located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Of this amount, the largest share, $2.9 billion, goes to companies in Washington.
Out of revenues of about $20 billion from its worldwide sales, Boeing projects R&D spending of $1.2 billion for 1996, most of which is performed in the Seattle area.
Boeing, in addition to its well-known commercial aviation products, is a major aerospace and defense contractor for the government. Boeing's work for DOD includes the wings for the Air Force's F-22 fighter, which is being assembled by Lockheed Martin in Georgia (see The Future of Science and Technology in Georgia: Trends and Indicators); the Airborne Laser weapon system, also for the Air Force; and the multi-service Joint Strike Fighter. These weapons systems are in various stages of development.
The Boeing Defense and Space Group, located in Kent, is also involved in NASA's International Space Station project. NASA obligated $38 million in FY 1994 for industry R&D in Washington, all of which is presumed to have gone to Boeing for the Space Station and for commercial aeronautics R&D. Boeing is developing components and modules for the Space Station, the first element of which will be launched in 1997. Until the completion of the Space Station, now scheduled for 2002, NASA will likely continue to direct funds to Boeing's space operations both in Washington and in Alabama.
Microsoft Corporation, with headquarters in Redmond, is the leading company in the enormously successful U.S. software industry. Only twenty years old, Microsoft enjoyed FY 1995 revenues of $5.9 billion. Microsoft estimates that it spent $860 million on R&D in FY 1995, most of it in Washington. Its Research and Development Division employs 7,500 people worldwide out of a company total of 20,500. All of Microsoft's R&D is self-funded. In contrast to the trend away from basic research in other major industrial firms, Microsoft has recently announced plans to dramatically increase its basic computer science investments through the creation of the world's largest computer science laboratory, operated by its Microsoft Research subsidiary. The organization, which now employs 170 scientists, hopes to expand to 500 scientists and perform fundamental research in fields such as speech technology and decision theory that may have little relevance to Microsoft's current products, but may eventually have payoffs for the computer industry.
The Seattle area is also home to a growing biotechnology and medical technology industry. This industry has developed primarily because of biomedical research performed with federal funds at the University of Washington and independent nonprofit research institutions. According to the Washington Biotechnology Foundation, these two Washington industries had an annual revenue of $1.6 billion in 1995 and employed over 10,000. R&D in this industry, including related R&D performed in universities and nonprofits, exceeded $1 billion in 1995. Revenues, employment, and R&D have grown dramatically over the last several years, and are expected to continue to grow at double-digit percentage rates into the 21st century.
The largest biotechnology company in Washington is Immunex, founded in 1981, with 770 employees. The largest medical technology company in Washington is ATL, with nearly 1,300 Washington employees and 2,500 total.
These companies rely on federally-supported institutions for basic research innovations and also for the highly skilled scientific and technical workforce that these institutions train. The University of Washington, Washington State University, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have links to more than half of the biotechnology and medical technology companies in the region, according to the Washington Biotechnology Foundation. Some companies were founded on technologies developed at these institutions; others participate in ongoing research collaborations; and many do both.
The federal government provided $325 million for R&D at Washington's universities and colleges in FY 1994 (see Table 2). The University of Washington (UW) is the dominant research institution in the state, receiving $278 million. Federal R&D dollars fund 82 percent of the R&D performed at UW, a ratio far higher than the 60 percent national average for universities. UW receives more federal R&D funds than any other public university, and ranks behind only Johns Hopkins University in Maryland among all U.S. universities. So important is the federal contribution to the university's activities that UW estimates that federal R&D accounts for one-third of the university's total funding. The university estimates that its research programs provide salaries for 5,000 full-time staff, support key industries in the state such as the previously mentioned aerospace, biotechnology, and medical technology industries as well as timber and fishing, and train more than 8,000 graduate students each year. UW's faculty have won numerous honors, including five Nobel prizes.
The recent stagnation in federal funding after over a decade of nearly uninterrupted growth is of great concern to the university. UW reports that in 1996, federal R&D support declined slightly in inflation-adjusted terms. Although NIH, the largest funding source, continued to increase its support, grants from all other federal agencies fell by 10 percent, before adjusting for inflation, in just one year. As a result, the federal share of UW's R&D fell below 80 percent. Although UW ranks third among U.S. universities, behind only MIT and Penn State, in industry R&D funds received, industrial funding is less than one-tenth the amount of federal funding and is unlikely to replace declining federal funds.
Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman received $35 million in federal R&D in FY 1994. As a land-grant university, it received $11 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. WSU is home to specialized research facilities focusing on applied energy research, atmospheric research, environmental research, electron microscopy, and nuclear radiation.
In addition to the state's universities, Washington benefits from the research performed at nonprofit research institutions, which collectively received $98 million from the federal government for R&D in FY 1994. The largest nonprofit is the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, which received $63 million, nearly all of it from NIH. Designated a comprehensive cancer research center by the National Cancer Institute, the center employs 2,000 people in its basic sciences, clinical research, molecular medicine, and public health sciences divisions.
Richland, in the southeastern part of the state, is home to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), operated by Battelle Memorial Institute for the Department of Energy (DOE). PNNL received $198 million in R&D funds from the federal government in FY 1994, of which all but $11 million came from DOE. PNNL is one of nine DOE-funded multiprogram national labs. Its mission is to conduct R&D on environmental science and technology, mostly to support DOE's cleanup obligations at the neighboring DOE Hanford Nuclear Reservation, where plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons was produced for over four decades. DOE faces the task of cleaning up Hanford's four decades' worth of nuclear waste, at an estimated cost of over $50 billion over the next few decades. From its creation in 1965 as an entity separate from DOE's Hanford operations, PNNL has evolved into a multiprogram laboratory with R&D in areas as diverse as health, energy, and the global environment in addition to its core environmental mission.
Washington's federal laboratories collectively received over $150 million in R&D in FY 1994. The largest network belongs to the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which provided $55 million to its laboratories in FY 1994. Because of the rich marine resources in the diverse environments of the Columbia River basin, Puget Sound, and the Pacific Coast, 7 percent of Commerce's R&D went to Washington in FY 1994. Two major NOAA laboratories, the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, are located in Seattle. PMEL performs interdisciplinary research on oceanography, marine meteorology, and other subjects related to NOAA's mission of environmental stewardship and sustainable exploitation of marine resources. The Northwest Marine Fisheries Science Center conducts research on aquatic resources of the Columbia River and Puget Sound, including research on the management of fisheries resources and how fish stocks are affected by pollution.
The Cascade Mountains, which run through Oregon and Washington, contain many active volcanoes, including Mt. St. Helens. The U.S. Department of the Interior's U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) operates the Cascade Volcano Observatory in Vancouver to perform research on volcanoes and other natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, and debris flows. Through research on past eruptions, current seismic activity, and various geologic and hydrologic processes, as well as continual monitoring and assessment of the region's volcanoes, the laboratory's mission is to help people live knowledgeably and safely with volcanoes and other natural hazards. Interior also operates the Northwest Biological Science Center in Seattle and six other field stations which perform related research on salmon, sea otters and other wildlife in Puget Sound, and global climate change.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) obligated $19 million in R&D in FY 1994 to its labs in Prosser, Pullman, Wenatchee, and Yakima. They perform research on leading crops in the Pacific Northwest such as apples, pears, cherries, and sweet potatoes, including research on insect behavior and ecology, physiology, and genetics.
Definitions and Notes
Unless otherwise indicated, all dollar figures in this report refer to research and development (R&D), which includes both the conduct of R&D and support for R&D facilities. Some figures refer only to conduct of R&D and are noted as such. Figures in the tables may not add because of rounding.
This report uses the National Science Foundation's definitions for R&D. These definitions, which are used by NSF and the Office of Management and Budget in the collection of federal government statistics for R&D, are reproduced below.
R&D refers to researchboth basic and appliedand development activities in the sciences and engineering as well as R&D plant.
Research is systematic study directed toward fuller scientific understanding of the subject studied. Research is classified as either basic or applied according to the objective of the sponsoring agency.
In basic research the objective of the sponsoring agency is to gain fuller knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications toward processes or products in mind.
In applied research the objective of the sponsoring agency is to gain knowledge or understanding necessary for determining means by which a recognized and specific need may be met.
Development is the systematic use of the knowledge or understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems or methods, including design, development, and improvement of prototypes and new processes. It excludes quality control, routine product testing and evaluation.
Funds for conducting R&D include those for personnel, program supervision, and administrative support directly associated with R&D activities. Expendable or movable equipment needed to conduct R&D, e.g., a microscope or a spectrometer, is also included.
The definitions discussed above constitute "conduct of R&D." R&D plant, or R&D facilities support, include funds for non-movable R&D facilities such as reactors, wind tunnels, or particle accelerators, or for the construction, repair, or alteration of such facilities. (A facility is interpreted broadly to be any physical resource important to the conduct of R&D.)
Figures may vary between tables. Some tables are based on calendar years while others are based on fiscal years; some cover only conduct of R&D while others cover R&D facilities support as well. Data are collected using a variety of surveys which yield data that are not always perfectly consistent. Some data are collecting by surveying the sources of R&D funds (such as federal agencies) while others data are based on a survey of recipients. Please refer to the original source for complete information on how the data are collected.
(Definitions adapted from National Science Foundation, Federal R&D Funding by Budget Function Fiscal Years 1994-96, NSF 95-342, 1995, and other NSF publications)
Publications in The Future of Science and Technology in the States series:
The Future of Science and Technology in Georgia: Trends and Indicators (May 1996) $8.95.
The Future of Science and Technology in California: Trends and Indicators (May 1996) $8.95.
The Future of Science and Technology in the Midwest: Trends and Indicators (August 1996) $8.95.
The Future of Science and Technology in Alaska: Trends and Indicators (September 1996) $8.95.
The Future of Science and Technology in New England: Trends and Indicators (February 1997) $8.95.
The state reports may be ordered directly from the AAAS Directorate for Science and Policy Programs. Please add $2.50 for postage and handling per order. Orders must be prepaid by check or accompanied by a purchase order payable to AAAS. Please call Shirley Young at (202) 326-6600, or fax your order to (202) 289-4950. Direct correspondence to Shirley Young, AAAS Directorate for Science and Policy Programs, 1200 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20005.
Other AAAS Publications:
AAAS Science and Technology Policy Yearbook 1996-97, Albert H. Teich, Stephen D. Nelson, & Celia McEnaney, editors, 1996. ISBN 0-87168-599-X. AAAS publication number: 97-2S. $24.95; $19.95 to AAAS members. (A collection of writings on the major science and technology policy issues of 1996.)
Congressional Action on Research and Development in the FY 1997 Budget. $10.95; $8.75 to AAAS members. AAAS publication number: 96-22S. (An analysis of FY 1997 appropriations for R&D as approved by Congress with detailed funding tables).
AAAS Report XXI: Research and Development FY 1997, Intersociety Working Group, 1996. $18.95; $15.16 to AAAS members. AAAS publication number: 96-10S. (A comprehensive analysis of the federal budget for R&D for FY 1997 by agency, issue area, and discipline).
Working With Congress: A Practical Guide for Scientists and Engineers, Second Edition, William G. Wells, Jr., 1996. ISBN 0-87168-581-7, AAAS publication number: 96-2S. $15.95; $12.76 to AAAS members.
The above publications may be ordered from the AAAS Distribution Center. Please add $4.00 for postage and handling per order. Orders must be prepaid by check or accompanied by purchase order payable to AAAS. Address: AAAS Distribution Center, P.O. Box 521, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701. For VISA / Mastercard orders call 1-800-222-7809 (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. ET). Fax orders to 301-206-9789. For shipments to CA and DC, add applicable sales tax. For shipments to Canada, add the GST. Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.
AAAS World Wide Web Site
Further information on the activities and publications of the AAAS Directorate for Science and Policy Programs is available on the AAAS Web site at http://www.aaas.org/spp.
Updated information on federal funding for R&D is available on the R&D Budget and Policy Project home page at http://www.aaas.org/spp/dspp/rd/rdwwwpg.htm.
Information on the Center for Science, Technology, and Congress is available on the Center's home page at http://www.aaas.org/spp/dspp/cstc/cstc.htm.
The complete text of this report and other reports in the The Future of Science and Technology in the States series is available at http://www.aaas.org/spp/dspp/cstc/cstcrm.htm.