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R&D: West faces Asian challenge

Asian countries, led by China, are challenging the supremacy of US, and Europe in scientific research and development, says a UN report.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2006 14:15 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Emerging Asian countries, led by China, are challenging the supremacy of the United States, Europe and Japan when it comes to commitment to scientific and technological research and development, a UN report issued here says.

On the other hand, European countries, led by Sweden, are amongst the smartest in the field, it says.

"The most remarkable trend is to be found in Asia, where gross expenditure on R and D has grown from a world share of 27.9 per cent in 1997 to 31.5 per cent in 2002," according to the 2005 Science Report, published by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Driving this dynamism is China, whose spending on R and D in 2002 was 1.23 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), compared with 0.83 per cent in 1999, it says.

With 810,000 researchers, China has many more researchers than Japan, which had 646,500 in 2002, the report, issued on Wednesday, said.

Of the $80 billion in global expenditure on R and D in 2002, 37 per cent was spent in North America, a fall from 38.2 per cent in 1997.

The report, written by independent experts, is the fourth in the series by UNESCO. The last update was in 1998.

The report points out that the brain drain continues to affect many countries. Even countries such as India, which has forged ahead in software development, space, biotechnology and pharmaceutical research, still sees many of its highly-trained graduates disappear abroad, especially to the United States.

First Published: Jan 20, 2006 14:15 IST