Between FY 2010 and the FY 2013 sequestration, federal R&D expenditures declined by 16.3 percent; this is the fastest decline over any three-year period since the end of the space race.
Federal investment in basic and applied scientific research is a key driver of long-term U.S. economic growth (and a fundamental contributor to the discovery of new technologies and medicines that significantly improve health care and quality of life). In fact, research shows that a 1 percent increase in R&D capital stock increases GDP by .13 percent. Other countries get this, which is why they have significantly increased their investments in government-funded R&D in recent years. For example, between 2012 and 2016, Sweden will increase its federal R&D investment by 25 percent. Likewise, R&D funding in the European Union's Horizon 2020 program is slated for a 25 percent ($14B) increase over next six years. But as U.S. federal investment in R&D declines in absolute terms-even as our economic competitors double down on theirs-these trends will only lead to reduced economic growth, job creation, and business development in the United States and a continued transfer of R&D, innovation, and productive capacity to other nations around the globe.