[Image above] Credit: Reizigerin; Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0


Everyone is tightening their belts these days—universities, banks, mechanics—even the federal government is making cuts.

“Everyone” also includes the majority of the nation’s federally-funded R&D centers (FFRDCs), which, according to new figures from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, slashed R&D spending in fiscal year 2013 by more than $1 billion over the previous year. (Spending at FFRDCs also was down in 2012—click here for the post.)

Of the 40 FFRDCs, 24 reported spending declines and 17 reported declines for the second straight year—for a total of $16.9 billion in R&D expenditures, down from a peak of $18 billion in fiscal year 2010. That year was, for the most part, an anomaly—2010 spending reflected those one-time American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 monies that added an additional $1 billion in federal R&D spending; in 2013, AARA-funded spending accounted for only 1%, or $170 million, of all federal R&D spending.

Basic research spending also was down from 2012 figures, tallying only 24.8% of total spending in 2013. The previous year, basic research represented 35.2% of expenditures.

Five labs—Los Alamos, Sandia, Oak Ridge, Lawrence Livermore, and the NASA-sponsored Jet Propulsion Lab—accounted for 50% of total spending in 2013.

To read the report in full, click here.