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Physical Sciences – Research and How it Works

Physical sciences also include subjects such as chemistry, physics and astronomy. While environmental science accounts for a comparably small slice of revenue, it is almost certain to rise as government funding for science increasingly revolves around the development of renewable energy alternatives. Other engineering sectors include chemical, material, mechanical, industrial, civil and construction. A great deal of funding on experimental fusion technology could be viewed as environmental spending, as one of its ultimate goals is fusion energy generation. R&D in defence and national security is mostly conducted in this discipline and the past five years have resulted in strong growth in federal government funding in this area.

The second largest R & D category is pharmaceuticals, which accounts for about 13.5% of industry revenue. Pharmaceuticals research has been a steady segment of revenue because, though pharmaceutical companies do much of this research in-house, they must verify results and perform some testing in independent laboratories. The third-largest segment, biotechnology, accounts for about 9.2% of revenue. Over the past five years there has been an expansion in funding for biotech research, which includes subjects like stem-cell research and bio fuel research initiatives funded in hopes of developing alternative energy sources. Notably, US legislation or public opinion can pressure the level of research in the biotechnology arena due to moral and ethical concerns. Other R&D is expected to generate about 10.2% of industry revenue through 2013. This segment includes health, biological, forestry, animal product, fisheries, veterinary and other life sciences (excluding biotechnology and pharmaceutical sciences). R&D in the social sciences and humanities are also included in this segment. Due to the diversity of research performed within this segment, it does not fluctuate significantly as a share of revenue.

The industry earns about 9.1% of revenue by licensing rights to intellectual property. This includes intellectual property protected by copyright and industrial property such as trademarks and industrial designs. Meanwhile, the industry also develops goods, processes, systems and methods for the private and public sectors. The development segment accounts for about 3.0% of industry revenue. High public spending in the past five years boosted both of these segments.

Other income makes up 17.2% of total revenue. It includes theoretical research, engineering services and the resale of merchandise, as well as contributions, gifts, grants and investment income. This segment has increased as a share of revenue in the past five years as more “miscellaneous” services were required from the industry due to the unprecedented financial crisis.

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