Why Declining Investment in Basic Research Threatens a U.S. Innovation Deficit

April 27, 2015

Why declining investment in basic research threatens a U.S. innovation deficit. A report by the MIT committee to evaluate the innovation deficit.

Last year was a notable one for scientific achievements: In 2014, European researchers discovered a fundamental new particle that sheds light on the origins of the universe, and the European Space Agency successfully landed the first spacecraft on a comet. Chinese researchers, meanwhile, developed the world’s fastest supercomputer, and uncovered new ways to meet global food demand.

But as these competitors increase their investment in basic research, the percentage of the U.S. federal budget devoted to research and development has fallen from around 10 percent in 1968 to less than 4 percent in 2015.