The UIS has released new data on the human and financial resources devoted to research and development (R&D) for 147 countries and territories. The data were collected through the Institute’s survey on statistics of science and technology (S&T), which is conducted every two years.
For the first time, the UIS has published data on the distribution of R&D expenditure by type of activity for 67 countries. The data shed light on the extent to which countries invest in basic research, applied research, or experimental development. In general, universities and research centres tend to focus on basic research, while private firms tend to invest greater resources in experimental development in order to bring new or modified products to the market.
It is assumed that investment in experimental development is primarily based in wealthier countries with large private sectors. This is generally the case, according to UIS data. However, China is, in many ways, the exception and devotes an impressive 82.8% of R&D expenditure to experimental development (in 2008). Israel was a close second at 81.6% (2009), followed by the Republic of Korea (64.3%), Japan (62.6%), and the United States (60.3%), all for 2008. At the other end of the scale, Costa Rica devoted 5% of its R&D expenditure to experimental development (2008), followed by Mongolia (5.4% in 2009) and Paraguay (5.7% in 2008).
The UIS S&T survey is conducted on a biennial basis in 143 developing countries and territories. Data for developed countries are collected from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union). For Latin America and the Caribbean, the UIS has a data-sharing agreement with RICYT (the Latin American Network on Science and Technology Indicators). Full results of the survey can be accessed at the UIS Data Centre.