University R&D Funding Strategies in a Changing Federal Funding Environment

Published in: Science and Public Policy, 2014

Posted on on January 01, 2014

by Margaret E. Blume-Kohout, Krishna B. Kumar, Neeraj Sood

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This paper evaluates how changes in US National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding levels affected US universities' total biomedical R&D efforts, over a period of dramatic change in the federal funding environment. Instrumental variables estimation reveals that during the NIH budget doubling period (1998–2003), each federal dollar that US universities received spurred an additional $0.26 in research support from non-federal sources, with stronger complementarity found among historically less-research-intensive institutions. However, in the more competitive post-doubling environment (2006 onwards), the more research-intensive PhD-granting universities substituted funding from non-federal sources to maintain stable levels of R&D expenditures. In contrast, at non-PhD-granting and historically less-research-intensive institutions, total R&D funding and expenditures declined overall with reduced availability of federal funds. However, the effect of successful federal applications on subsequent non-federal investment remained significant and positive for this latter group, suggesting federal R&D funding may play an important signaling role.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.