TABLE 3.1 Summary of the Percentage Growth in Constant-Year Dollar Funding of Various U.S. Research Elements


Constant-Year Dollar Growth, 1981-1989 (%)

Federally funded research (FFR)


FFR basic


FFR in universities


NASA basic




NASA/OSSA with flight projects


NASA/OSSA without flight projects


Seven-university sample (funded by NASA/OSSA)


Funding for NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA) includes substantial amounts for project-related activities. As these activities often include substantial support for industry, they were removed from the university funding estimates to obtain a lower limit to that funding, and the result is shown in Table 3.1, where funding growth, with and without projects, is given.

An illustration of these research funding trends can be found in data from seven universities receiving NASA/OSSA funds over the 1981-1989 period. Funding changes ranged from a 35 percent decrease to a 245 percent increase, with an average value of 40 percent growth, as shown in Table 3.1. If the possibly anomalous 245 percent increase is removed from the sample, the average growth would be 20 percent. Although the sample is small and the growth experienced from university to university varied widely, it does appear that the average growth in NASA/OSSA funding in space physics fields at these seven universities has been consistent with the national trend in research funding.

In summary, we conclude that research funding in the United States, both generally and in the field of space physics, has increased substantially over the past 10 to 15 years.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement