Industrial R&D expenditures reflect increasing optimism

By Control Engineering Staff February 7, 2006

Columbus, OH —Expenditures for research and development across industry, government, and academia are expected to rise nearly 3% in 2006, the BattelleR&D Magazine annual forecast indicates. According to the report, spending will rise to a projected $328 billion from a $320 billion-level in 2005.

The largest portion of the funding is in the industrial sector. Spending for industrial R&D alone is expected to reach $211.9 billion in 2006, an increase of 3.5% from the $204.8 billion spent in 2005. Government R&D spending is expected to account for $96.6 billion of the total, with academia and other non-profit organizations making up the remaining amount at $20.4 billion.

A theme revealed from data, trends, and report is that research and development support “runs the risk of being viewed as an expense and a luxury, rather than an investment, and one that can be shelved until more funds are available,” said Battelle’s Jules Duga, senior research leader and co-author of the forecast. In addition, a projected shortfall of people in the future generation of scientists, engineers, and researchers remains an area of concern in the industrial and federal government markets. “While this‘education gap’ is not deemed critical at the present time,” said Duga, “if commitments are not made now, the future strength and vitality of the R&D enterprise will be at risk.”

Surveys covering anticipated industrial funding indicate a slowly increasing optimism regarding total commitment to R&D. Several sectors will continue their roles as leaders in funding and growth of funding. Pharmaceuticals, automotive, and information technology can expect continuous expansion in R&D efforts.

Battelle has issued the R&D forecast for the past 36 years. It relies on a variety of sources, including data from the federal budget, the American Association for the Advancement of Science , and the Industrial Research Institute . Click here for more information.

—Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jeanine Katzel, senior editor,