The committee has used the figures published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Gramp et al., 1992) to gain perspective on the distribution of federal funds for environmental research. The AAAS report shows expenditures of about $4.5 billion for environmental research in four categories: environmental sciences (life and physical sciences), $3.1 billion; engineering and other sciences related to the impacts of natural and anthropogenic activities in the environment, $1.2 billion; social sciences related to the environment, such as environmental economics, and adaptation to global change, less than $50 million; and information and data related to the environment, $200 million. The AAAS report states that about $0.7 billion is expended for studies of human health related to the environment in addition to the $4.5 billion of the above-described expenditures. The analysis excludes funding for operational activities related to the environment, such as environmental-policy studies, training, technical assistance, and waste cleanup and $0.3 billion for extraterrestrial environmental sciences. Figure 4 shows the distribution of funds by disciplinary category.
Over 20 agencies provide funds for environmental research and development through hundreds of programs. Six agencies–DOD, DHHS, NASA, DOE, NSF, and USDA–provide 70% of the total. About one-third of the federal funds for environmental R&D is for inhouse government laboratories. The DOI, NOAA, and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Forest Service of USDA do most of their work intramurally, and NOAA and NASA also conduct inhouse research extensively. About 45% of the federal support to extramural performers is expended in industry, contractor-operated national laboratories and other nonprofit R&D centers.
The AAAS estimates that the environmental research agencies (NASA, NSF, United States Geological Survey (USGS), NOAA, and the Smithsonian Institution) spend about $2 billion of federal funds for environmental R&D. Sector-specific agencies (including USDA, DOE, DOD, and the Agency for
Almost all of the information in this section is abstracted from the report titled Federal Funding for Environmental R&D: A Special Report prepared by Gramp et al. for the American Association for the Advancement of Science with partial support from the Committee on Environmental Research and with the advice of the committee and others. The AAAS report provides additional detail and information on the methodology and caveats concerning their analysis.