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UNESCO Science Report

Towards 2030: Measuring progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 9

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by the member states of the United Nations in September 2015 and cover the period to 2030.

The UNESCO Science Report series is one of the tools monitoring the progress made by countries between 2015 and 2030 towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9: building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation by 2030.

Read a summary of global trends in A World in Search of an Effective Growth Strategy (Chapter 1, UNESCO Science Report 2015)

Each of the chapters in the UNESCO Science Report monitors progress worldwide, or in a given country or region, towards SDG target 9.5, in particular: Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics supplies relevant data for inclusion in the UNESCO Science Report.

Two key indicators

Through the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, UNESCO is the custodian agency for the two official indicators used to measure progress towards target 9.5., namely:


Research and development expenditure as a proportion of GDP


Researchers (in full-time equivalents) per million inhabitants

Tracking trends in innovation

A 2013 survey of manufacturing firms by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics found that, although most research and development was taking place in high-income countries, innovation was occurring across the full spectrum of income levels, including the acquisition of equipment, machinery and software. Although firms relied on market sources such as suppliers and clients to develop innovation, only a minority of them considered universities as being key partners in innovation. The report considers this a key policy concern.

Read about the survey’s findings in Tracking trends in innovation and mobility (Chapter 2, UNESCO Science Report 2015)

These blogs may also be of interest:


Baseline information and data on countries’ development path

The 2015 edition of the UNESCO Science Report provides baseline information and data on the development path countries were following at the time of adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015, as illustrated by the following blogs: