Executive Summary

Key takeaways:

  • In 2022, the United States performed an estimated $885.6 billion in research and development (R&D) in current U.S. dollars. This is an increase from 2021 of 12% in current (nominal) dollars and a 5% increase in constant (inflation-adjusted) dollars.
  • The business sector is by far the largest performer of U.S. R&D. In 2022, this sector performed an estimated $692.7 billion in domestic R&D (current U.S. dollars), or 78% of U.S. R&D, a 14% increase from the $608.6 billion performed in 2021 (6% increase in constant dollars).
  • The second-largest performing sector in 2022 was higher education, with $91.4 billion (or 10% of the U.S. R&D total). This represented a 7% increase from 2021 in current dollars, but performance stagnated in constant dollars (-0.4% change). In 2022, the federal government performed $73.3 billion, for an 8% share of U.S. R&D, compared with $66.8 billion in 2021, for a 10% increase (3% in constant dollars).
  • In addition to being the largest performer, the business sector is also the largest R&D funder in the United States. In 2022, the sector funded $672.9 billion, or 76% of total U.S. R&D, up from 69% in 2000 and 61% in 2010.
  • The federal government funded 18% of U.S. R&D ($159.8 billion dollars) in 2022 as the second-largest source. The federal government funds the largest proportion of U.S. basic research performance (40%). The largest recipient sector of federal R&D funding in 2022 was higher education (30%), followed by intramural federal R&D (29%).
  • The United States has had an R&D intensity, a measure of R&D expenditures relative to gross domestic product (GDP), above 3.0% since 2019. In 2022, the United States had an R&D intensity of 3.4%, based on National Patterns of R&D Resources statistics.
  • Five industries accounted for 79% of the $602.5 billion of U.S. business R&D performed by companies with 10 or more domestic employees in 2021: information (including software publishing) at 25%; chemicals manufacturing (including pharmaceuticals and medicines) at 18%; computer and electronic products manufacturing (including semiconductors) at 17%; professional, scientific, and technical services (including R&D services) at 11%; and transportation equipment manufacturing (including motor vehicles and aerospace products and parts) at 8%.
  • U.S. semiconductor and other electronic components manufacturing was one of the most R&D-intensive industries in 2021 (20% R&D-to-sales ratio). That year, semiconductor business R&D increased 9.8% in current U.S. dollars to $47.4 billion, after increasing 22.8% in 2020.
  • In FY 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense together accounted for around three-fourths of the $196.6 billion in federal obligations for R&D and R&D plant.
  • Across all agencies in FY 2022, 24% of federal R&D obligations were devoted to basic research ($45.4 billion), 25% to applied research ($48.4 billion), and 51% to experimental development ($96.6 billion).
  • Federal research obligations (basic plus applied research) reached $93.8 billion in FY 2022 across all science and engineering (S&E) fields. Funding for life sciences research was the highest among S&E fields across agencies at $41.6 billion (44% of the total), primarily from HHS.
  • The Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act of 2022 appropriated $52.7 billion to revitalize the U.S. semiconductor industry along the supply chain, including $13.7 billion supporting R&D, workforce development, and related programs.
  • Based on internationally comparable estimates, the United States had the highest gross domestic expenditures on R&D (GERD) in 2021, at $806.0 billion, followed by China, with $667.6 billion in current U.S. purchasing power parity dollars. The top five R&D-performing economies (including Japan, Germany, and South Korea) accounted for 73% of the 2021 global R&D total.