China likely to surpass US in R&D spending by year-end: Report

PTI Washington | Updated on June 04, 2018

China is likely to surpass the US in research and development spending by the end of this year, a top American science body has said, underlining that Beijing has increased its spending in the sector at an average of 18 per cent per year between 2000 and 2015.

China spends 5 per cent of its total R&D funds on basic research and 85 per cent on development, while the US spends 17 per cent on basic research and 64 per cent on development, the National Science Board said in its latest Science and Engineering Indicators.

Noting that R&D spending is a driver of innovation, the report said in 2015, the US spent most on R&D, accounting for 26 per cent ($496 billion) of the estimated $1.9 trillion global total. China was a decisive second at 21 per cent at $409 billion.

“If current trends continue, the National Science Board expects China to pass the US in R&D expenditures by the end of 2018,” the report said, according to which China has rapidly increased R&D spending over time — an average of 18 per year between 2000 and 2015, compared to 4 in the US

The global output from high-technology manufacturing totalled at $1.6 trillion in 2016. The US at 31 per cent and China at 24 per cent were the largest providers of the global share.

China’s output has risen sharply over time and now exceeds that of the EU. “As of November 2017, China claims 202 of the fastest 500 supercomputers in the world. The US has 143 of the world’s fastest supercomputers, the nation’s lowest share over the past 25 years,” it said.

According to the National Science Board, a country’s investment in S&E education leads to a skilled, STEM capable workforce. Globally, bachelor’s degrees in S&E fields totalled more than 7.5 million in 2014. Almost half of these degrees were conferred in two Asian countries: India at 25 per cent and China at 22 per cent. The EU and US followed with 12 per cent and 10 per cent of the global share respectively.

“Between 2000 and 2014, the number of S&E bachelor’s degrees awarded in China rose more than 360 per cent to 1.7 million. The US had more moderate growth (54 per cent) over the same period,” the report said. China, the report said, increased its production of peer-reviewed S&E articles by 8 per cent annually between 2006 to 2016, compared to only one per cent in the US.

In 2016, China surpassed the US in publications of S&E research papers, it said. In 2014, publications with US authors were almost twice as likely to be among the world’s top 1 per cent most-cited publications than would be expected based on the volume of US publications.

Published on June 04, 2018

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