Facts and figures: R&D expenditure

From the UNESCO Science Report, Towards 2030

Global gross expenditure on research and development (GERD) totalled 1.48 trillion PPP (purchasing power parity) dollars in 2013.

World GERD grew faster (30.5%) than the global economy (20.1%) between 2007 and 2013. This was largely because the private sector in wealthier countries maintained or increased its own level of spending on R&D over this period, even though public commitment to R&D declined in many of these countries in the context of austerity budgets.

High-income economies continue to generate the bulk of global R&D expenditure: 69.3% in 2013, down from 79.7% in 2007. The USA (28.1% of world GERD) still spends more than any other country.

China's share of world GERD rose from 10.2% in 2007 to 19.6% in 2013. Some 84.6% of research spending in China consists of experimental development (2013), compared to 64.3% in the USA (2012).

The share of all low or middle-income economies other than China surveyed (135 countries) in global GERD changed little between 2007 (10.1%) and 2013 (11.1%).

The top five countries for R&D expenditure are (in billions of current PPP$) are the USA (PPP$ 454 billion), China (PPP$ 337 billion), Japan (PPP$ 160 billion), Germany (PPP$ 101 billion) and the Republic of Korea (PPP$ 69 billion).

Switzerland has the highest GERD per capita: PPP$1 657 current PPP dollars, followed by Singapore (PPP$1 537), Sweden (PPP$1 479), the USA (PPP$ 1 429) and Israel (PPP$ 1 427).

Switzerland is considered a global leader in innovation but also devotes 30% of GERD to basic research, thereby ensuring the continual generation of new knowledge and quality university education. Switzerland also hosts one of the biggest contingents of foreign PhD students: 51% in 2012.

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