Varying RD Budgets

The United States leads the world in annual R&D expenditures ($74 billion), but nearly 60 percent of these funds are still earmarked for defense. There is a need to transfer more of this money into research on material science, biotechnology, and microme-chanics. Japan has increased its R&D expenditures much faster than has the United States and is spending it mostly on nondefense-related research in physics, biophysics, and computer science.29

A growing portion of U.S. R&D expenditures is going into the development side of R&D, raising concerns about whether the United States can maintain its lead in basic science. Many companies are content to put their money into copying competitors' products and making minor feature and style improvements. Even basic-research companies such as DuPont, Bell Laboratories, and Pfizer are proceeding cautiously. Much of the research is defensive rather than offensive. And, increasingly, research directed toward major breakthroughs is being conducted by consortiums of companies rather than by single companies.

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