the sounds of zydeco and the smell of steamed shrimp, there
is a surprisingly strong research and development (R&D) base
in the Gulf States. Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi received
$2.8 billion in federal R&D in FY 1997. This accounts for
4.0 percent of total federal R&D spending which is consistent
with the region's 4.3 percent share of the nation's population.
figures can be misleading, however, since the distribution
of R&D spending among the threes states is far from uniform.
Alabama, with only 4.3 million people (1.6 percent of the
United States), received $2.26 billion of federal R&D in FY
1997 (see Table 1).
This translates into 3.2 percent of total federal R&D and
ranks Alabama ninth in federal R&D expenditures among the
fifty states and the District of Columbia. In contrast, Louisiana
(population of 4.4 million) ranks 36th with $230 million in
FY 1997 of federally funded R&D and Mississippi (population
of 2.7 million) ranks 28th with $329 million in FY 1997.
states are part of the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive
Research (EPSCoR) sponsored by the National Science Foundation
(NSF). EPSCoR targets 18 states and Puerto Rico in order to
help states that traditionally have been underrepresented
as recipients of federal R&D funds. EPSCoR funding from NSF
is currently $48 million, with the same amount being spent
by all other agencies' (DOE, DOD, USDA, EPA, and NASA) EPSCoR
programs combined. Louisiana and Mississippi fit the profile
of typical EPSCoR states, while Alabama receives almost as
much federal R&D dollars as all the other EPSCoR states combined.
government supplies the majority of R&D funding to the Gulf
States (see Table 2).
The Department of Defense (DOD) is the lead contributor to
the area. DOD contributed $1.5 billion to the three states,
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) placed
second with $889 million in 1997. The Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS) was third with expenditures of $230
million in 1997.
beneficiary of these dollars is industry, which received $1.5
billion in FY 1997 or a 4.7 percent share of all federal funds
given to industry (see Table
1). Government labs were next, receiving $888 million
in FY 1997 or a 5.3 percent share. However, of those funds,
private industry in Alabama received $1.36 billion and Alabama
federal labs received $661 million.
years of flat funding levels, federal R&D in the Gulf States
began a gradual climb in the mid-1980s. The region reached
a peak of federal R&D funding in FY 1992 with almost $3 billion
(see Chart 5). In
FY 1994, there was a sharp decline but gradual increases since
that time have brought R&D funding levels closer to the $3
billion mark again.