Innovation America Innovation America Accelerating the growth of the GLOBAL entrepreneurial innovation economy
Founded by Rich Bendis

On a per capita basis, federal R&D obligations to U.S. universities and colleges increased by 7 percent from FY 2003 to 2007, rising to $83.80 per person in FY07, according to the National Science Foundation. Total U.S. federal R&D obligations to academia increased by 11.1 percent over the same five years to $25.3 billion in FY07.


SSTI has prepared a table listing the academic obligations per capita from FY 2003 to 2007, the percent change of these obligations per capita over this period, and the relative rank of this change.


The range in per capita figures among the states is large. Washington D.C. led the country with $360.10 in federal R&D obligations to academia per capita in FY07. This was followed by Maryland ($279.30), Massachusetts ($230.70), Connecticut ($142.10), and Hawaii ($135.60). Maine, Arkansas, Idaho, Nevada, and Oklahoma were the states with the lowest per capita values. Overall, the U.S. average of $83.80 per capita bested 28 states.

New Mexico had the largest percentage increase in federal obligations to academia per capita from FY03 to 07, rising 38.5 percent to $92.80 per person. The other states with the largest five-year increases were West Virginia, North Dakota, Massachusetts, and Ohio.

NSF defines obligations as "the amounts for orders placed, contracts awarded, services received, and similar transactions during a given period, regardless of when the funds were appropriated and when future payment of money is required. Obligations differ from expenditures in that funds allocated by federal agencies during one fiscal year may be spent by the recipient institution either partially or entirely during one or more subsequent years."

SSTI's table is available at:

The data for the table came from the Census Bureau and the NSF's Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions, FY 2007. The later is available at: