Invest in Science and Technology

Introduction

The United States needs to make strategic, long-term investments in science and technology.

Investing in R&D now helps sustain U.S. dominance in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, advanced robotics, aerospace and advanced medicine. The country needs a national innovation strategy to pursue ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking projects to solve the toughest challenges across a wide range of fields.

Key Trends

Federal support of R&D is slowing even as other countries are pursuing ambitious investment strategies. The United States is still a global leader in R&D -- largely due to robust private sector investment -- but its lead is diminishing.

China Closing the Gap on R&D Spending

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China Closing the Gap on R&D Spending: While U.S. government R&D spending slowed following the recession, China’s federal R&D spending has rapidly increased over the past two decades.

U.S. Lagging Behind Other Countries

American R&D investment as a share of GDP ranks 10th behind countries like Israel, Switzerland, and Germany.

“We used to spend 4 times what China spends on R&D in this country, 15 years ago. It’s about equal today.”
Jamie Dimon
JPMorgan Chase, CEO

Federal Spending Not Keeping Pace with GDP

Federal government spending as a share of GDP has fallen from 1.2% in the 1970s to just 0.7% today.

Private Sector Forced to Compensate for Shrinking Government Investment

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Today, the private sector funds 64% of R&D in the United States, more than 2.5 times what the federal government contributes.

U.S. Investment is Flat Compared to Our GDP

While U.S. R&D investment reached a record high in 2016, investment as a share of GDP has flattened at 2.7%.

Policy Recommendations

The United States needs to make strategic, long-term investments in science and technology. Below are our recommendations on how to achieve these goals.