Research and experimental development (R&D) plays a pivotal role in driving a country’s economic growth and hence is instrumental in alleviating poverty. As part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), countries have pledged to “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”.

In particular, SDG target 9.5 calls upon them to encourage innovation and substantially increase the number of researchers, as well as public and private spending on R&D. Governments and policymakers equipped with reliable and comparable data on R&D are better placed to plan and monitor national R&D efforts.

The UIS, as the custodian agency, produces two key indicators to monitor progress towards this SDG target: R&D expenditure as a proportion of GDP and researchers per million inhabitants.

The UIS has just launched its 2019 R&D Statistics Survey (see the questionnaire) in order to produce these and other indicators on the human and financial resources invested in R&D.

In June 2020, the UIS will be releasing country-level data and indicators from the survey through the Institute’s Data Centre, visualization tools and fact sheets. As the official UN source for R&D data, the UIS also provides data for many global indices, reports and databases.