Issue Date: February 17, 2014 | Web Date: February 13, 2014
Shifting R&D Landscape
The U.S., Europe, and Japan no longer monopolize the R&D arena because emerging Asian economies are expanding their share of global R&D investment. This is a major finding of the 2014 “Science & Engineering Indicators.” The biennial report is the product of the National Science Board, the policy-making body for NSF and an advisory panel to Congress.
“Emerging economies understand the role science and innovation play in the global marketplace and in economic competitiveness and have increasingly placed a priority on building their capacity in science and technology,” says Dan E. Arvizu, chairman of the National Science Board. Emerging economies’ focus on R&D is rapidly changing the scientific landscape, adds Arvizu, who is director and chief executive of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
According to the report, in terms of global R&D expenditures in 2011, the U.S. remains the leader, holding just under a 30% share. The U.S. portion is down from 37% in 2001. One-third of global R&D expenditures came from Asia, with 15% coming from China and 10% coming from Japan. The European Union held a 22% share of global R&D in 2011, down from 26% in 2001.
Looking at R&D investments as a share of gross domestic product (GDP), the U.S. ranks 10th with investments in 2011 of 2.8% of GDP. Countries with more R&D investment include South Korea with 4.0% of GDP, and Japan with 3.4% of GDP.
The report finds that the U.S. still is the front-runner in many areas. These include total R&D investment, number of high-quality publications, patents issued, and income generated by intellectual property export. The report also finds that U.S. R&D has rebounded from the Great Recession, thanks in part to funding from the 2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.
“Science & Engineering Indicators” has been compiled every two years since 1972.
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