R&D Budget and Policy Program: Guide to R&D Funding Data International Comparisons

R&D Budget and Policy Program

Guide to R&D Funding Data
International Comparisons

U.S. Leads World in R&D Performance, Gap Narrows

The United States continues to lead the world in R&D with 36 percent of projected world R&D performance in 2007, according to data from the OECD. U.S. industry, government and other sectors spend more on R&D than the entire EU combined (25 percent). China has increased its R&D performance dramatically in recent years and is now the 3rd largest performer of R&D (down from 2nd place because of a recent recalculation of purchasing power). Out of total world R&D performance of nearly $1 trillion (adjusted for purchasing power), China, Japan, and South Korea combined now account for 27 percent of world R&D, more than the 27 nations of the EU.

China is now just narrowly #2 in the number of scientists and engineers engaged in research activities, behind only the United States and nearly as many as the 27 nations of the European Union combined.

- August 6, 2008

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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is composed of nearly all of the major R&D performing nations in the world, and publishes R&D statistics collected from its member nations. Comparisons among the largest R&D performing nations are available from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Science Resources Statistics. Please refer to their publications Science and Engineering Indicators and National Patterns of R&D Resources. The first chart shows that the U.S. R&D/GDP ratio increased during the 1990s but has leveled off this decade. The U.S. ratio compares favorably with the other major industrialized nations, but China has the fastest-growing R&D enterprise. The second chart shows that the U.S. is still the dominant performer of R&D in the world. The U.S. continues to fund more R&D than all the EU nations combined. In this decade, China has emerged to become the third largest performer of R&D.

Chart. Total National R&D as Percent of GDP, 1991-2006 (8/08)
Table. Total R&D as Percent of GDP, Selected Nations, 2006 (8/08)
Chart. Shares of Total World R&D, 2007 (8/08)
- Chart. Shares of World S&E Researchers, 2006 (8/08)
Chart. Government R&D expenditures by country and socioeconomic objective, 2007 (8/08)
Chart. R&D expenditures by country and funding source, 2006 (revised 8/08)
Chart. R&D expenditures by country and performer, 2006 (revised 8/08)
Table. Health and Environment Government R&D by Nation, 2007 (8/08)

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