The UIS has released new data on the human and financial resources devoted to research and experimental development (R&D) for 157 countries and territories. 

The data were collected through the Institute’s survey on R&D statistics in partnership with regional and international organizations, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat.

In addition, the UIS has data-sharing agreements with the Latin American Network on Science and Technology Indicators (RICYT) and the African Union (AU) NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA). The UIS works closely with these partners to guarantee alignment across the respective surveys.

It should be noted that the UIS R&D survey will now be conducted on an annual basis instead of every two years as part of efforts to improve the timeliness of the results. 

The results of the UIS R&D survey are also featured in the UNESCO eAtlas of Research and Experimental Development, which presents the latest available data for countries at all stages of development and short descriptions of current trends.  The eAtlas allows users to explore, share and embed maps, charts and ranking tables for more than 75 indicators.

UIS data featured in the UNESCO Science Report: Towards  2030

UIS data on R&D are featured in numerous indices, databases and reports including the UNESCO Science Report (see part one and two).

The latest report, Towards 2030, analyses trends and developments in science, technology and innovation policy and governance between 2009 and mid-2015, providing baseline information that may be used to help monitor progress towards the new Sustainable Development Goals, especially Target 9.5, which calls on countries to: “Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending .”

Investment data are among the most telling

According to the report, despite the economic crisis that hit industrialized countries in 2008, gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) increased globally by 31% between 2007 and 2013, rising from USD (PPP$) 1,132 billion in 2007 to USD (PPP$) 1,478 billion in 2013. This increase was more rapid than that of global gross domestic product (GDP) during the same period (20%).

The USA still leads, with 28% of global investment in R&D, followed by China (20%) – now ahead of the European Union (19%) – and Japan (10%). The rest of the world represents 67% of the global population but just 23% of global investment in R&D. Nevertheless, research investment by countries such as Brazil, India and Turkey is increasing rapidly.

The investment in research also translates into an increase in the number of scientists, estimated at 7.8 million worldwide, which is up by more than 20% since 2007. The European Union has the most (22% of the world share), followed by China (19%) and USA (17%).