The Federal Government invested $8.76 billion in Information Technology R&D in Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) – an increase of $410 million, or 4.9 percent over the previous year – according to an Administration report issued on Tuesday. The report is a supplement to the President’s FY23 Budget Request issued by the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program, the coordinating office for the 26 member agencies of the Federal government that are engaged in IT R&D. This supplement, which is mandated by law, “provides a technical summary of NITRD members’ budget investments and activities planned and coordinated through the NITRD Program from FY 2021 through FY 2023.” For the community, the usefulness of the document is seeing how much the Federal research agencies spent in FY22 (ie: the previous fiscal year) and in which research areas; we did not have that information until now.
The report covers all 26 member agencies of NITRD, including NSF, NIH, and DARPA. That is then further broken down into “Program Component Areas,” or PCAs, which focus on key research areas.
Particularly noteworthy is the PCA covering Artificial Intelligence (AI). The report states that across all Federal research agencies, the government spent $2.58 billion on AI R&D in FY22. That represents an increase of $130 million, or +5.3 percent, over the previous fiscal year. Looking at specific research agencies, NSF ($654 million), NIH ($551 million), DARPA ($457 million), and the Dept of Defense ($391 million) were the major funders of AI R&D in FY22, according to the report, with DOE Office of Science ($130 million) close behind.
While overall the numbers for AI R&D show an increase, specific agencies did take a step back in funding levels in FY22. For example, NSF’s AI spending dropped by $28 million over the previous year and DOE SC’s spending dropped by $10 million. It’s not clear if this is a reporting issue – that research characterized as AI-related changed from year to year – or if it represented an actual reduction in investment in AI research year-over-year. When we find out we’ll update this post.
NITRD is, “the Nation’s primary source of federally funded research and development in advanced information technologies (IT) in computing, networking, and software,” and has coordinated Federal R&D investments in advanced digital technologies for over 30 years. NITRD has 26 member agencies, more than 80 participating agencies, and Federal investments in the NITRD Program, “have increased from $7.8 billion requested in FY 2022 to $9.6 billion requested in FY 2023” according to the Biden Administration. NITRD also released a Cybersecurity R&D Strategic Plan Implementation Roadmap on Tuesday.
It’s worth noting that this is just a report to Congress showing in detail the President’s FY23 Budget Request, which was released in March, for IT and AI R&D programs that are coordinated through NITRD. Congress still must appropriate funds for Fiscal Year 2023, a matter that the legislature is dragging its feet on. But this report is useful as a status check on the nation’s IT and AI research investment, which appears to be healthy and mostly growing.