Importance of investing in research now recognised worldwide

October 23, 2003

Brussels, 22 Oct 2003

A report from the organisation for economic cooperation and development (OECD) claims that knowledge intensity is continuing to increase in OECD member countries, despite talk of the death of the 'new economy'.

The OECD science, technology and industry 2003 scoreboard shows that, according to productivity data, the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Australia received the largest boost from investment in information and communication technologies (ICT).

The focus on generating and using knowledge through investment in research, the use of ICT, patenting, and producing scientists and engineers is being adopted in more and more countries, many of them outside the OECD. 'This suggests increasing competition for the factors that generate knowledge - skilled people, innovative businesses and capital - with a likely reduction in some of the advantages that select countries enjoyed in the 1990s,' states the OECD.

Major non-OECD economies currently account for 17 per cent of global research expenditure, with Chinese spending now placing the country third in the world after the US and Japan. Investment has also increased in India, putting it among the top ten countries worldwide.

European stakeholders will be disappointed to hear that, while manufacturing R&D expenditure under foreign control grew by nearly 90 per cent between 1993 and 1999, the US soaks up nearly half of this investment. For some European countries however, including Ireland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK, foreign affiliates still account for 30 per cent or more of manufacturing R&D expenditure. The figure is over 70 per cent for Hungary and Ireland.

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CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities

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