WASHINGTON – Health care and medical applications accounted for the lion’s share of U.S. business spending on research and development, according to the latest R&D spending survey by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Private sector R&D spending on health and medical totaled $76.1 billion in 2008, the most recent year that totals were available, NSF reported in a survey released this week (Aug. 22). Unlike areas like U.S. military R&D, more than 86 percent of health and medical R&D ($66.4 billion) was paid for by companies as R&D expenditures.
Two-thirds of health care R&D spending came from the “pharmaceuticals and medicines” industry, the agency reported. Nearly all of this spending was devoted to health and medical applications.
By contrast, most military R&D conducted by U.S. businesses, the second largest category in the NSF survey, was paid for by the federal government. Military R&D spending totaled $41.5 billion in 2008, NSF said, with companies paying for only $9.7 billion.
Energy (about $18 billion), environmental protection (about $8 billion) and agriculture (nearly $5 billion) rounded out the NSF R&D spending survey for 2008. The energy sector attracted the second highest total of direct company spending, $16.1 billion.
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Automotive and auto electronics were among the leading energy R&D categories, each accounting for about $3 billion in spending during 2008.
See NSF’s R&D spending report for 2008 here
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