Declines in Federal Funding of Geoscience Research

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The percentage of all federal funding for research and development applied to the geosciences decreased from nearly 11% in 1996 to 6% in 2007, where it has held steady ever since. The total amount of federal research funding for geoscience research steadily increased between 1970 and 2004, peaking at $3.74 billion dollars. Since 2004, funding has steadily decreased, and in 2009 total federal research funding for geoscience research was $3.35 billion dollars. Since 2000, the proportions of funding for atmospheric, geological, environmental, and ocean science research have remained relatively steady.

Federal research funding applied to the geosciences from 1970 through 2009. Source: AGI Geoscience Workforce Program, data derived from NSF/SRS Survey of Federal Funds for Research & Development.

Since 2004, federal funding of geoscience research in universities continues to remain near 30% of total federal geoscience research funding. Total funding for geoscience research at universities peaked in 2004 at $1.1 billion dollars and decreased to $966 million dollars in 2007. In 2006, oceanographic research surpassed environmental science research as the geoscience discipline receiving the largest proportion of geoscience research funds at universities.

Federal geoscience research funding applied to universities from 1973 through 2007. Source: AGI Geoscience Workforce Program, data derived from NSF/SRS Survey of Federal Funds for Research & Development.

Date updated: 2011-03-04
Data Brief 2011-001
Written and compiled by Leila Gonzales for AGI, March 2011

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