Industry contributions to academic research and development have declined after decades of steady increases, according to a new report from the National Science Foundation (NSF). It's unclear whether the trend will continue, but efforts to make industry-academia partnerships easier may be the best way to foster the applied research that comes from such collaborations, some experts say.Overall, industry's share of academic R&D funding in 2004 was 4.9%, down from 7.4% in 1999. The dollar amount peaked in 2001 at $2.2 billion and dropped 5.1% to $2.1 billion in 2004, the most recent year for which data is available, reports Alan I. Rapoport, senior analyst with NSF's Science and Engineering Indicators Program. In addition, the number of institutions that receive more than 10% of their R&D budget from industry fell from 52 in 1998 to 21 in 2004.The new report is a deeper look into the findings of an NSF brief...

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