Expenditure on research and development (R&D) is a
key indicator of countries' innovative efforts.
Research and development (R&D) comprise creative
work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge
(including knowledge of man, culture and society) and the use of this knowledge to
devise new applications. R&D covers three activities: basic research, applied
research, and experimental development. Basic research is experimental or theoretical
work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundation of
phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.
Applied research is also original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new
knowledge; it is, however, directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or
objective. Experimental development is systematic work, drawing on existing knowledge
gained from research and/or practical experience, which is directed to producing new
materials, products or devices, to installing new processes, systems and services, or
to improving substantially those already produced or installed.
The main aggregate used for international comparisons is
gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD). This consists of the total expenditure
(current and capital) on R&D carried out by all resident companies, research
institutes, university and government laboratories, etc. It includes R&D funded
from abroad but excludes domestic funds for R&D performed outside the domestic
economy. GERD is here expressed in constant 2005 dollars (adjusted for purchasing
power parity) and as a share of GDP (R&D intensity).
The R&D data shown here have been compiled according
to the guidelines of the OECD Frascati Manual.
Estimates of the resources allocated to R&D are affected by national
characteristics such as the periodicity and coverage of national R&D surveys
across institutional sectors and industries (and the inclusion of firms and
organisations of different sizes); and the use of different sampling and estimation
methods. R&D typically involves a few large performers, hence R&D surveys use
various techniques to maintain up-to-date registers of known performers, while
attempting to identify new or occasional performers.
Data for Israel exclude defence. Those for Korea, prior
to 2007, exclude social sciences and the humanities. For the United States, R&D
capital expenditures are excluded and depreciation charges of the business enterprises
Among OECD countries, the United States is the main
performer with 42% of the total OECD GERD in 2009, followed by Japan (15%) and
Germany (9%). Since 1999, real R&D expenditure has been growing the fastest in
Estonia, Korea, Portugal and Turkey, with average annual growth rates around 10%.
Outside the OECD area, China's average annual real growth in R&D spending has
been close to 20%, making it the world's second largest R&D performer and
ahead of Japan since 2009.
In 2009, R&D amounted to
2.4% of GDP for the OECD as a whole. Denmark, Finland, Israel, Japan, Korea and
Sweden were the only OECD countries whose R&D-to-GDP ratio exceeded 3%.
Over the last decade, R&D
intensity grew in the EU (from 1.74% to 1.91%), in Japan (from 3.00% to 3.26%) and
in the United States (from 2.71% to 2.90%). Estonia, Korea, Portugal and Turkey
were the fastest growing OECD countries. In the same period (2000-10), R&D
intensity in China almost doubled, increasing from 0.90% to 1.77%.