Building peace in the minds of men and women

In Depth

The state of science across the globe


A medical worker hands a box of Covid-19 test samples, collected from rural hospitals in Ghana, to a drone flight operator. This photograph is featured on the cover of the UNESCO Science Report, 2021.

Mila Ibrahimova

In 2015, countries pledged to spend more on research as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) when they committed to the Sustainable Development Goals. According to the UNESCO Science Report: The race against time for smarter development, released in June 2021, research spending actually increased by 19.2 per cent between 2014 and 2018 – with almost half of this growth driven by China alone. 

In spite of this progress, four out of five countries are still spending less than one per cent of their GDP on research.

The report also reveals that countries of all income levels now share a common agenda to transition to digital and green economies. But this will require a massive investment in modern infrastructure, such as high-performance computing, data centres, and solar and wind farms. 

Energy is at the heart of this dual transition. In fact, renewable energy was the only energy sector to see growth in 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read more:

“We must educate algorithms”, The UNESCO Courier, October-December 2020
Research: “This epidemic will be a detonator”, The UNESCO Courier, July-September 2020
SESAME: Scientific excellence in the Middle East, The UNESCO Courier, October-December 2018


Subscribe to The UNESCO Courier for thought-provoking articles on contemporary issues. The digital version is completely free.

Follow The UNESCO Courier on: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram