Pennsylvania's R&D Climate Improving

March 04, 1998

Washington, DC -- March 4, 1998-- Pennsylvania's overall economy is getting a boost from recent increases in federal funding for research and development (R&D), despite decreases in defense spending. Increased funding for non-defense agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), could make up for dollars lost from further potential defense cuts, says a report released today by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

"Because of the long-term decline in defense funding," says Al Teich, director of Science Policy Programs at AAAS, "Pennsylvania should pay careful attention to diversifying in non-defense research areas in order to secure its leadership as a high-tech state in the 21st century." Teich briefed U.S. congressmen and senators from Pennsylvania on Capitol Hill this afternoon about the report, The Future of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania: Trends and Indicators.

Between 1994 and 1995, Pennsylvania jumped from eleventh to ninth place among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of federal R&D dollars received. The largest portion of the $2.45 billion that the state received in 1995 went to industrial firms, accounting for 51 percent of the funds. Universities received 30 percent of the funds, placing second. According to the report, although the Department of Defense (DOD) provides almost fifty percent of the overall R&D funds for the state--more than twice the amount that any other single federal agency supplies--HHS is now the largest single agency source of funds for Pennsylvania's universities.

Due to the rapidly growing U.S. economy, federal R&D appropriations fared better in 1998 than in the preceding years, when the desire to reduce the federal deficit caused congressional and White House policy-makers to call for reductions in civilian R&D spending of as much as 25 to 33 percent by the year 2002. According to the report, there have been significant increases in 1998 for federal agencies that play important roles in Pennsylvania's federal R&D funding portfolio, such as the NSF and HHS, which includes the National Institutes of Health.

The report is the ninth in a series of regional reports published by the AAAS Directorate of Science and Policy Programs. The reports seek to inform scientific and engineering communities about impacts of federal spending trends on R&D at the state and regional levels. Reports have been published on Alaska, California, Florida, Georgia, the Midwest, New England, the Pacific Northwest, and the South Atlantic states.

AAAS is the world's largest federation of scientists with more than 143,000 members and nearly 300 affiliated scientific and engineering societies. It conducts a variety of programs in science education and career development, science policy, and international scientific cooperation. It publishes the weekly, peer-reviewed journal Science and administers EurekAlert! [], the online news service featuring discoveries in science, medicine, and technology.


Editor's note: Copies of the report are available to reporters. Call Dave Amber at 202-326-6434 to receive a copy.

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