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Research landscape in the USA

RCUK Office in the US logoThe US is the largest investor (both public and private sector) in research and innovation in the world. As such, it maintains world leading universities, researchers and facilities through an extensive network of federal funders, state funders, industry, foundations and university endowments.

Federal investment in research enjoys broad cross-party political support. Congress has an active role in monitoring federal research spend and overseeing yearly budget allocations. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate, who together form the US Congress, need to reach consensus on budget allocations before the budget reaches the President to be signed into action.

A big difference in the US system as compared to the UK is the large number of basic research funders (classified as 6.1 in the US system). Also, in the US, the more mission led funders (e.g. Department of Energy) tend to cover more of the innovation chain than the research councils. However, UK research excellence, and cultural similarities and historical linkages with the US mean that there is already a great deal of researcher led UK/US research collaboration. The UK’s role in Europe and the large number of common multinationals in both countries also make the UK and US attractive partners.


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