OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook

October 17, 2002

Paris, 16 Oct 2002

Nations and private companies, spurred by the need to accelerate innovation, are shaking up their approach to research and development. That's one of the conclusions in the OECD's 2002 Science, Technology and Industry Outlook.

A fundamental shift is underway in how R&D resources are targeted, as companies and nations scramble to accelerate innovation. Private industry is shouldering an increasing proportion of funding, reducing the role of government. Moreover, companies are funneling more resources to universities and private research institutes in an effort to broaden the search for new ideas.

Although the current economic slowdown appears to be putting a dent in research and development outlays, in recent years the spending gap between geographic regions grew, says the Outlook. Japan and the United States are among the leaders, respectively spending 3% and 2.7% of GDP on R&D in 2001.

That compared with 1.9% of GDP in the European Union in 2001, although some individual countries, such as Sweden and Finland, far outspent their neighbors.

The Outlook also takes a detailed look at science and technology development in China, and evaluates the challenges the nation faces in the wake of joining the World Trade Organization. Although China has made significant advances in recent years, it still needs major reforms if it hopes to match the level of innovation in the world's technology leaders, the report's authors conclude. R&D spending, at 1% of GDP, lags behind the level in most OECD countries. Moreover, the government is the main source of funds, while private industry plays a modest role.

Further information on the report is available at http://www.oecd.org/EN/document/0,,EN-do cument-notheme-1-no-15-35101-0,00.html. Journalists may obtain a copy from the Media Relations Division . The report is also on sale through the Online Bookshop.

"OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2002"
328 pages, OECD, Paris 2002
Euros 73 ; US$73
ISBN 92-64-19844-X (92 02 14 1)

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
http://www.oecd.org

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