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Federal government spending on science and technology, 2014/2015

Released: 2014-05-28

Science and technology expenditures by federal departments and agencies are expected to decline 5.4% from the previous fiscal year to $10.3 billion dollars in 2014/2015. Federal government science and technology spending peaked in 2010/2011 and has posted annual declines in expenditures since then.

Science and technology spending is composed of two components—research and development as well as related scientific activities. In 2014/2015, more than 63% (or $6.5 billion) of the anticipated federal spending will be dedicated to research and development activities, with the remaining $3.8 billion directed to related scientific activities. Research and development is defined as creative work with an appreciable element of novelty and uncertainty undertaken in a systematic manner to increase the stock of scientific and technical knowledge. Related scientific activities are focused on the generation, dissemination and application of scientific and technical knowledge.

Federal government science and technology can also be categorized by intramural (or in-house) and extramural science and technology expenditures. Extramural expenditures are expected to account for just over half (50.7%), or $5.2 billion, of federal government expenditures in 2014/2015. The higher education sector is anticipated to be the largest extramural performer, making up 31% of federal science and technology expenditures, followed by business enterprises at 9%.

More than three-quarters of federal science and technology expenditures, or $7.9 billion, are expected to be directed to natural sciences and engineering, with the remaining $2.4 billion on social sciences and humanities.

Federal departments and agencies reported that they anticipate 35,189 full-time equivalent positions to be engaged in science and technology activities in 2014/2015, down 2.8% from 2013/2014. Over half of these positions, or 19,109 full-time equivalent positions, are expected to be in the scientific and professional class.

  Note to readers

New estimates for federal science and technology spending are now available for fiscal years 2012/2013 to 2014/2015.

The Federal Science Expenditures and Personnel, Activities in the Social Sciences and Natural Sciences is an annual survey of all federal government departments and agencies believed to be performing or funding science and technology activities. Data for this release cycle were collected between September 9, 2013, and January 10, 2014.

The publication Federal Scientific Activities, 2014/2015 (Catalogue number88-204-X), will soon be available.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Carl Sauriol (613-951-6830; or Cindy Carter (613-951-1856;, Investment, Science and Technology Division.

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