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Call for a Dramatic Increase to Federal R&D Funding to Support the U.S. Economy

Call for a Dramatic Increase to Federal R&D Funding to Support the U.S. Economy

A new report from Breakthrough Energy on the Impacts of Federal R&D Investment on the U.S. Economy shows how government investment is key to supporting the U.S. economy. R&D investments in the defense, health, and energy sectors have significant impact on job creation, which as the report points out will be extremely valuable as the nation works to recover from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The report concluded that if the nation were to increase R&D spending to 1% of our national GDP by 2030, that investment would support 3.4 million U.S. jobs. (Current R&D spending is 0.6% of the national GDP.)


The report analysis the potential short- and long-term impacts of increased federal R&D funding. It tracks how the workforce would respond to an increasing, siting an earlier study that found that R&D investments that followed the 2008 economic recession generated 27 jobs for every $1 million invested. Further, that study found created 66 job-years at a cost of about $15,000 per job-year. The new Breakthrough Energy report seeks to replicate these outcomes in this time of turmoil for our nation by encouraging an increase in R&D spending now to spur economic activity in the short-term, while investing in continued R&D and economic benefits in the long-term.


The current Administration has been supportive of increased private involvement in federal R&D. This new report highlights how federal investment encourages increased involvement from the private sector through a “crowd in” effect. “Estimates from one study imply that current federal R&D investment in the defense sector of $58 billion in 2018 results in approximately $52 billion in additional private sector R&D investment. The increased private sector R&D brings with it an increase in private sector employment and productivity.”


For more information and to read the report in full, visit:

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