Guide to R&D Funding DataInternational 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
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)