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Federally funded R&D centers spent $17.8 billion on R&D in FY 2011

The 40 federally funded R&D centers (FFRDCs) in the US spent $17.8 billion on research and development in FY 2011, according to data from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Just over $850 million of the total was supplied by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, or slightly less than 5%.

FFRDCs are privately operated R&D organizations that are exclusively or substantially financed by the federal government. Federal funding (non–ARRA and ARRA) accounted for 97.6% ($17.4 billion) of the FFRDCs’ total expenditures in FY 2011. The remaining expenditures were funded by businesses ($190 million), nonprofit organizations ($61 million), state and local government ($27 million), and other sources ($146 million).

Basic research activities accounted for 37% of total FFRDC R&D expenditures in FY 2011; applied research, 29%; and development, 34%.

With the exception of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the FFRDCs spending $1 billion or more on R&D in FY 2011 were all national laboratories sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The FFRDC reporting the largest amount of total R&D spending was Los Alamos National Laboratory ($2.3 billion). The FFRDC reporting the largest amount of ARRA–funded expenditures ($125 million) was DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. ARRA funds supported 32% of its total expenditures in FY 2011.

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