Academic Research and Development

By Josh Trapani and Michael Gibbons January 15, 2020

This report examines R&D performed by U.S. higher education institutions. It discusses funding by source and S&E field for R&D activities and equipment and provides information on research space. Academic R&D has grown every year since 1975 and remains focused on basic research. Most of it is performed by a small percentage of U.S. higher education institutions. The federal government funds over half of academic R&D, although institutional support represents an increasing share. Growth in research space has largely been in biological and biomedical sciences, while equipment expenditures are similar to those a decade ago.


Elementary and Secondary Mathematics and Science Education

By Susan Rotermund and Karen White 
September 4, 2019

This report presents national trends in K–12 student achievement and compares U.S. student performance with that of other nations. It explores mathematics and science knowledge from kindergarten to fifth grade, followed by STEM achievement for eighth graders, finding differences across socioeconomic status. International comparisons show that U.S. students score in the middle of advanced economies. The report also finds certain STEM coursetaking in high school relates to the choice of a STEM major in college or to entering the skilled technical workforce among students who transition directly to work.


Higher Education in Science and Engineering

By Josh Trapani and Katherine Hale September 4, 2019

This report examines trends in U.S. S&E higher education within a global context. It contains information on U.S. higher education institutions, including S&E degree awards, student demographics, cost, and debt. S&E fields have grown at all degree levels. Yet many groups of Americans remain underrepresented among degree recipients. The United States continues to attract the most international students worldwide, but the number enrolled in U.S. institutions has declined over the past 2 years. China has rapidly increased the number of S&E degrees awarded, compared with more moderate rises in the United States and the European Union.


Invention, Knowledge Transfer, and Innovation

By Carol Robbins, Derek Hill, and Mark Boroush January 15, 2020

This report covers trends in the interrelated system of invention, knowledge transfer, and innovation. Patent and trademark applications, which are indicators of invention, more than doubled globally between 2008 and 2017, with middle-income countries worldwide rapidly increasing their participation. In the United States, technology transfer metrics for the federal government and academic institutions include invention disclosure, licensing, and collaboration activities. The last section covers venture capital investment and innovation. Between 2014 and 2016, about 17% of U.S. firms introduced a new product or processes.


Production and Trade of Knowledge- and Technology-Intensive Industries

By Derek Hill January 23, 2020

This report examines production and trade of knowledge- and technology-intensive industries. These industries consist of high and medium-high R&D-intensive industries. In the high R&D-intensive industries, the United States is the largest global producer of any single country and has a strong position in two of these industries—manufacturing of aircraft and publishing (including software). In the medium-high R&D-intensive industries, China is the largest producer closely followed by the United States. This report also examines artificial intelligence technologies that are predicted to have widespread economic and societal impact.


Publications Output: U.S. Trends and International Comparisons

By Karen White
December 17, 2019

This report presents data on peer-reviewed S&E journals and conference proceedings reflecting the rapidly expanding volume of research activity, the involvement and scientific capabilities different countries, and the expanding research ecosystem demonstrated through international collaborations. Publication output grew about 4% annually over the past 10 years. China and India grew more than the world average, while the United States and European Union grew less than the world average. Research papers from the United States and EU countries had higher impact scores. International collaborations have increased over the past 10 years.


Research and Development: U.S. Trends and International Comparisons

By Mark Boroush January 15, 2020

The U.S. R&D enterprise relies on businesses, federal and nonfederal governments, higher education institutions, and other nonprofit organizations. This report identifies trends in R&D performance and funding and compares them to those of the world’s other major economies. The U.S. annual total of R&D has expanded steadily since 2010 (totaling $548 billion in 2017), mostly due to sizable annual increases in business R&D performance. In 2017, the United States remained the world’s top R&D performer. However, the global concentration of R&D continues to shift from the United States and Europe to South Asia and East-Southeast Asia.


Science and Engineering Labor Force

By Amy Burke
September 26, 2019

The science and engineering (S&E) labor force helps to create and advance our scientific and technological knowledge, transform these advances into goods and services, and fuel America’s economy, security, and quality of life. This report details several aspects of the U.S. S&E workforce, including growth, demographic makeup, earnings, and unemployment. Nearly 7 million individuals work in S&E jobs, and almost 25 million hold an S&E bachelor’s degree or higher. In addition, over 17 million people constitute the skilled technical workforce—individuals who use S&E skills in their job but do not have a bachelor’s degree.


Science and Technology: Public Attitudes, Knowledge, and Interest

By John C. Besley and Derek Hill May 15, 2020

This report examines indicators of U.S. public attitudes and understanding of science and technology (S&T), public concern about S&T issues, and public knowledge of basic S&T facts. The report identifies high-level trends and patterns, some of which are examined by selected demographics of the U.S. public. It also makes comparisons between the United States and other countries, including China, in public attitudes, support for public funding of science, and S&T knowledge. The report finds that nearly three-quarters of Americans in 2018 saw more benefits than harm from science, and 84% supported federal funding of basic research.


The State of U.S. Science and Engineering 2020

By Beethika Khan, Carol Robbins, and Abigail Okrent
January 15, 2020

This report covers trends in and the relative global position of the U.S. S&E enterprise, including education, workforce, R&D, industry output, and innovation. Data show mixed trends. The United States continues to perform the most R&D, award the most S&E doctoral degrees, and account for significant numbers of S&E research articles and citations worldwide. However, growth of S&E capabilities in other nations, particularly China, has outpaced that of the United States along several dimensions. The United States has seen its relative share of global S&T activity flatten or decline, even as its absolute activity levels kept rising.