New Online/Interactive Data Tool: “How Much Do Countries Invest In R&D?”
As the UN General Assembly prepares to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UNESCO Institute for Statistics has released a new data tool showing the leaders and emerging players in research and development (R&D) across the world.
The tool offers a global perspective on spending patterns, as well as time series data on regional and country-level commitments to R&D, in absolute terms and relative to GDP.
According to the data, the top five R&D performers in absolute terms (R&D expenditure) are all large economies: the United States, followed by China, Japan, Germany and the Republic of Korea. The ranking changes dramatically when viewed according to the indicator that will be used to monitor SDG 9 (R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP): the Republic of Korea is the world leader followed by Israel, Japan, Finland and Sweden.
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In Central and Eastern Europe, Slovenia leads with 2.4% compared to the Russian Federation at 1.2%. In Central Asia, the figure hovers around 0.2%, as in the case for Kazakhstan. Morocco tops the league in the Arab States with just 0.7%. Brazil is the leader in Latin America, with 1.2%, while India leads in South and West Asia with 0.8%. In Africa, the African Union is aiming for 1%, but only Kenya, Mali and South Africa approach the target.
China is achieving an astonishing average annual growth rate of 18.3% in R&D spending, compared to just 1.4% across the rest of the world’s upper-middle-income countries, according to UIS data. China’s R&D spending only amounts to 2% of its GDP, but this means that the country is pouring about PPP$369 billion into this sector each year. As the share of global R&D expenditure by high-income countries fell from 88% in 1996 to 69.3% by 2013, China alone filled that gap, increasing its share from 2.5% to 19.6%. This means that China is increasingly approaching the United States, which accounts for almost 30% of global R&D expenditure.
Globally, there were almost 1,083 researchers for every one million people in 2013. However, the share of researchers in middle-income countries, excluding China, fell from 17% to 15% between 1996 and 2013– a worrying downward trend with global implications for sustainable development.
Direct to New Interactive Resource: How Much Does Your Country Invest in R&D?
- UNESCO eAtlas on Research and Development
- Learn About How the UIS Mesures R&D
- Explore Data on Women in Science
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.