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Research by Science and Engineering Discipline


The 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.

Current 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 – 2021 PNG Excel Nov 2022
Disciplines by Share of Total, 1970-2021 PNG    
Disciplines by GDP, 1970-2021 PNG Excel Nov 2022

Disciplines and Subfields

Series Chart Data Last Update
Mathematical / Computer Sciences PNG Excel Nov 2022
Environmental Sciences PNG    
Physical Sciences PNG    
Life Sciences PNG    
Psychology PNG    
Social Sciences PNG    
Engineering PNG    

Funding by Agency

Series Chart Data Last Update
Dept. of Agriculture PNG Excel  Nov 2022
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    
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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