By Ben Ames
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Many defense contractors are predicting a $60 billion cut in Pentagon spending on fighter jets and aircraft carriers to help pay for the war in Iraq. But at the same time, one industry group is predicting a hike in federal spending on research and development.
Total research and development funding in the United States will increase by 3.6 percent to $312 billion in 2005 from $301 million in 2004, according to a study by Battelle Science and Technology International.
This is the company’s 42nd annual forecast, co-authored for the 26th time by Senior Research Scientist Jules Duga.
Federal government spending will drive the market as it grows by almost 6 percent to $98 billion over the $92 billion in 2004. Spending at the U.S. Department of Defense generates much of that trend, Duga says.
In comparison, private industry spends nearly twice as much on R&D, but has seen almost no increase over the past four years. The increase for 2005 is expected to be a little less than 2 percent, rising from $187 billion in 2004 to $191 billion in 2005.
This spending has been flat throughout the recession, and is still growing so slowly that it will lose ground to inflation. That is largely because industrial leaders have been outsourcing their R&D to Japan and Western Europe, with further plans for developing countries such as China and India.
Meanwhile, researchers in the academic and other nonprofit sectors will adopt a strong, 8.6 percent increase in their small markets, rising from $21 billion in 2004 to nearly $23 billion in 2005, the Battelle report says.
The big spending happens at the federal agencies. Research in national defense will spark most of the increase in federal spending, the study says. Basic science programs at the departments of energy and defense will see increases of about 8 percent.
Workers at the Department of Homeland Security will also see a large increase in R&D spending for 2005, compared to smaller increases at the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
Finally, the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will see a loss in spending in its programs to sponsor cooperation between federal and industrial labs.
Researchers will spend that money in seven major areas:
• Antiterrorism technologies. Identification, isolation, and deactivation of materials, systems, devices, and the like that can produce physical, economic, and psychological disruption. Also, the development of hardening devices or approaches, used to minimize the impact of attacks.
• Energy production and distribution. Renewable and/or low-waste production, including nuclear options, bioenergy, hydrogen, and fuel cells.
• Information mining and assessment. The development of techniques for the gathering and mining of information in a wide range of topics, and the capacity to rapidly analyze content.
• Materials technologies. The development of new classes of materials that can survive in hostile environments (such as medical implants; deep sea; and ultra-high temperature, high radiation or highly corrosive situations) as well as being higher strength-to-weight replacements, as in energy saving applications.
• Medical technology. Emphasis on the development of methods for diagnostics and therapeutics and including devices, feedback systems, early-warning systems, and emergency response equipment.
• Medical diagnostic imaging. The expansion of techniques for rapid and less expensive, non-invasive medical diagnostics methods, with emphasis on obtaining and interpreting images.
• Environment. The management of the environment, including reduction of global warming.
Battelle’s forecast is based on historic patterns of the past, analyses of the planned budget of the U.S. Federal Government, other organizations’ member or subscriber surveys, published literature, and wide-ranging discussions with industry and government experts. For more information, see www.battelle.org.