R&D spending drops as share of GDP, new statistics show

UK spending on research and development as a proportion of gross domestic product fell in 2012, according to new figures.

March 12, 2014

The latest data from the Office of National Statistics shows that the UK spent 1.72 per cent of GDP on research and development in 2012, down from 1.77 per cent in 2011.

This ranks the UK 12th in terms of research and development expenditure in the EU-28 group, behind countries including Slovenia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

Finland spends the highest proportion of its GDP on research and development at 3.55 per cent, which is more than double that of the UK. The average of all EU-28 countries is 2.06 per cent.

An analysis by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, published in January, warned that the UK had a sustained long-term pattern of under-investment in research and development as a proportion of GDP. It said that a “step change” in investment would be needed for the UK to remain a “global leader”.

The Insights from international benchmarking of the UK science and innovation system report found that the USA spends 2.5 per cent of its GDP on research and development. In South Korea the figure is 4 per cent.

According to the latest data, released on 12 March, the proportion of GDP spent on research and development in the UK peaked at 2.14 per cent in 1986. Since 2001 it has fallen to between 1.65 and 1.79 per cent.

In current prices research and development spending fell £0.5 billion, or 2 per cent, to £ billion compared with 2011. When adjusted for inflation the fall is three per cent.

The report, UK Gross Domestic Expenditure on Research and Development, 2012, suggests that the fall is largely down to a drop in investment from the business sector.

Spending in higher education makes up per cent of the total investment at £7.2 billion and increased 1 per cent since 2011 in current prices.

But research council expenditure plummeted 22 per cent in current prices, from £1 billion in 2011 to £0.8 billion in 2012.

holly.else@tsleducation.com

 

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Reader's comments (1)

Presumably the BIS 'trailblazer' apprenticeship scheme up to level 7 currently being rolled out across the economic sectors of England, apparently with enthusiastic support from employers and the sector skills councils, could be extended to embrace the 'Eng Doc' program (level 8) funded by the research councils for example. Perhaps by placing high quality researcher(s) in SMEs in particular, to undertake innovative projects, especially if the projects were able to gain joint employer/TSB competitive funding as well.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Worried man wiping forehead
Two academics explain how to beat some of the typical anxieties associated with a doctoral degree

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

Man throwing axes

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'

Kenny Dalglish

Agnes Bäker and Amanda Goodall have found that academics who are happiest at work have a head of department who is a distinguished researcher. How can such people be encouraged into management?

A group of flamingos and a Marabou stork

A right-wing philosopher in Texas tells John Gill how a minority of students can shut down debates and intimidate lecturers – and why he backs Trump