Battelle predicts $312B in 2005 R&D

Battelle Memorial Institute

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Defense spending is the catalyst for an increase in research and development funding, which is expected to reach about $312 billion this year in the United States, according to Battelle Memorial Institute.

In its annual forecast of research and development spending, the nonprofit research firm based in Columbus, Ohio, said this year's estimate represents a 3.7 percent increase compared with $301 billion estimated for 2004.

Federal spending – estimated to increase by almost 6 percent to $98 billion compared with $92 billion in 2004 – is the principal driving force, according to a press release issued by the organization, which commercializes technology and manages government laboratories.

"Although other federal sectors show greater percentages in increased funding, the sheer magnitude of the DOD budget will dominate the 2004-2005 shift," according to the release. Much of the R&D increase in federal spending is divided between the Defense Department and defense-related work conducted by the Energy Department. Basic research programs for each department received an increase of about 8 percent.

The Homeland Security Department will also see an increase in R&D support, but the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation will not get a similar boost. Battelle reported that the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Advanced Technology Program will continue to receive support but with less funding.

Following a 25-year trend, private industry continues to be the major R&D contributor, spending about $191 billion this year, or nearly 2 percent more compared with an estimated $187 billion expenditure in 2004. Academic and nonprofit sectors will see a combined increase of 8.6 percent in total funding to about $23 billion in 2005.

According to Battelle, the organization bases the research on historic patterns, analyses of the proposed federal budget, other organizations' member or subscriber surveys, published literature, and wide-ranging discussions with industry and government experts.

Among other major R&D opportunities, Battelle listed medical diagnostic imaging, materials technologies, information mining and analysis, and antiterrorism technologies -- including the identification, isolation and deactivation of materials, systems and devices that could generate physical, economic and psychological disruption.

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