Global spending on R&D has reached a record high of almost US$ 1.7 trillion. About 10 countries account for 80% of spending. As part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), countries have pledged to substantially increase public and private R&D spending as well as the number of researchers by 2030.
Looking at data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), which is the only agency to produce internationally-comparable indicators on R&D and innovation for countries at all stages of development we can see which countries and regions invest the most on innovation.
The data shows that East Asia and the Pacific is rapidly catching up with North America and Western Europe. Total spending in R&D is an important metric to understand however we think looking at R&D spending as a percentage of a country’s GDP is a more telling number. And here the US ranks 10th, while South Korea, Israel and Japan rank at the top. Interestingly Singapore also comes in at 14th while China doesn’t make it into the top 15.