Certainly if you had attended the recent Adhesion Society Annual Meeting in Williamsburg, Va., you would agree that R&D is alive and well. This impression is borne out by the annual Battelle-R&D Magazine research and development forecast that predicts total R&D expenditures in the United States to increase about 5 percent to $277 billion in 2001.

The forecast states that the increase is largely driven by industrial support, which continues to dominate both the amount and growth of R&D spending. However, the growth is also tempered by the unpredictable and sometimes skittish state of the “dot-com” world and stock market fluctuations that can influence near-term spending.

Industry will increase its R&D spending — at a rate that significantly exceeds inflation — by about 6.5 percent to $190 billion, according the forecast.

Spending by the federal government will increase slightly by 1.3 percent to $72 billion, a rate that is not quite keeping pace with inflation.

Academic institutions and other non-profit organizations will spend about $15 billion in 2001, which is about 6.2 percent more than last year.

“It is important to note that industry is continuing to promote research and development at a healthy rate even though the growth is less than what we have experienced in recent years,” according to the report. “In addition, the role of government cannot be underemphasized, both for the investment that the federal agencies make and the growth environment that has been fostered.”

“R&D will continue to provide the underpinning of the economy, on both the national and international scene. And it is not just the high-visibility communications, computers and information technologies, and the entire area of health care — it is also the technology that leads to more efficient industrial processes, improved transportation, and production and use of all manner of energy resource,” said Dr. Jules Duga, a Battelle senior researcher and coauthor of the report.

Industry will continue to emphasize various forms of partnering and collaborations, including relationships with other industries, federal laboratories and international facilities. Many of these partnerships will most likely continue to concentrate on those aspects of basic and applied research, which are far from commercialization, but which are necessary for the establishment of stronger platforms for future technology growth.

Throughout 2001, industrial support of R&D will continue to increase, rebounding from a combination of cost-cutting and organizational structure modifications, and benefiting from the recent strong expansion of the national and international economy. However, significant upheavals in foreign economic or political stability could influence U.S. business positions.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle has operations at more than 70 locations and clients in 30 countries. For more information, contact Media Relations Manager Katy Delaney at 614-424-5544 or at delaneyk@battelle.org. Contact Karen Taylor at Battelle at 614-424-5545 or taylork@battelle.org to obtain reprints of the full report.