The State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI) recently analyzed “Higher Education Research and Development” (HERD) expenditures by state and field of research in 2020 and found that the life sciences continued to dominate academic activity.
Specifically, expenditures in that area accounted for 57.5 percent ($49.6 billion) of total HERD spending. Engineering was the second most funded research field in 2020, accounting for 15.9 percent ($13.7 billion) of the national total. The third most funded research field was physical sciences, accounting for 6.6 percent ($5.7 billion) of total U.S. HERD expenditures.
According to the SSTI analysis, three of the five states that top the list of life science HERD expenditures are in the Southeastern Conference. They are Missouri which, at 79.3 percent, leads all states. The third most dependent state is Kentucky at 77.3 percent, while Arkansas ranks #5 at 72.8 percent.
What about Tennessee? Life science expenditures in higher education are 61.9 percent of the total in the Volunteer State. The next highest ranked area is engineering at 17.7 percent followed by non-science and engineering fields at 7.2 percent.
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