Study Says Business Sector Lacking in Academic R&D Funding

South Korea has highest levels of investment in such funding

According to a new study by Times Higher Education, the United States is behind in its supporting businesses that provide funding to academic research.

South Korea now ranks as No. 1 by the World Academic Summit Innovation Index. Businesses that invest nearly $100,000 per scholar within the country. That covers both research and development sides of the academia. In the U.S., businesses are now providing an average of $25,800 per academic researcher. It is just over a quarter of what South Korea provides.

The report is just the latest in the bad news for what is being called “a long and troubling trend of faltering industry investment in university research in the United States,” by Stephen Ezell.

Ezell is a senior analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. And he points out that from 2000 to 2008, the business funding of U.S. University research has fallen by 7% in the share of GDP, according to the ITIF in a 2011 report.

A weak investment from the business sector to the academic research and development side is considered by news for two primary reasons. The first being that it means busines can now make up for the decline already seen by in government support. Second, according to Ezell, “business funding of university research encourages essential links between commerce and academia, orienting research toward topics and ideas that are more likely to create new businesses, products and jobs.”

Other countries that sit ahead of the U.S. In the category provide stronger tax credits for R&D research conducted for collaboration research at universities. Others give the name types of incentives for national laboratories and research consortia working alongside Universities.

“We simply can’t take America’s leadership in global innovation for granted anymore,” Ezell writes. “We must continue to invest and to introduce innovative public policies that support private-sector innovation if America is to maintain its status as the world’s most innovative nation.”


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