NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Evaluating the Role of Science Philanthropy in American Research Universities

Fiona E. Murray

NBER Working Paper No. 18146
Issued in June 2012
NBER Program(s):   PR

Philanthropy plays a major role in university-based scientific, engineering and medical research in the United States contributing over $4Billion annually to operations, endowment and buildings devoted to research. When combined with endowment income, university research funding from science philanthropy is $7Billion a year. This major contribution to U.S. scientific competitiveness comes from private foundations as well as gifts from wealthy individuals. From the researcher’s perspective, analysis in this paper demonstrates that science philanthropy provides almost 30% of the annual research funds of those in leading universities. And yet science philanthropy has been largely overshadowed by the massive rise of Federal research funding and, to a lesser extent, industry funding. Government and industry funding have drawn intensive analysis, partly because their objectives are measureable: governments generally support broad national goals and basic research, while industry finances projects likely to contribute directly to useful products. In contrast, philanthropy’s contribution to overall levels of scientific funding, and, more importantly, the distribution of philanthropy across different types of research is poorly understood. To fill this gap, we provide the first empirical evaluation of the role of science philanthropy in American research universities. The documented extent of science philanthropy and its strong emphasis on translational medical research raises important questions for Federal policymakers. In determining their own funding strategies, they must no longer assume that their funding is the only source in shaping some fields of research, while recognizing that philanthropy may ignore other important fields.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18146

Published: Evaluating the Role of Science Philanthropy in American Research Universities, Fiona Murray. in Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 13, Lerner and Stern. 2013

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Lemley w18081 Fixing the Patent Office
Gans and Murray w16980 Funding Scientific Knowledge: Selection, Disclosure and the Public-Private Portfolio
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us