China challenges dominance of USA, Europe and Japan

Posted on July 6, 2006  Comments (3)

China challenges dominance of USA, Europe and Japan in scientific research according to UNESCO Science Report 2005

The report says that “the most remarkable trend is to be found in Asia, where gross expenditure on R&D has grown from a world share of 27.9% in 1997 to 31.5% in 2002”.

This hardly seems impressive compared to the growth of Google say. However the amounts of money for global R&D are huge and so changes as less dramatic than other areas. Still this is significant and seems likely to continue to move in this direction.

The report postulates that science and technology are the driving force behind economic and social progress. Thus, it argues, “half a hectare of land and one year of labour were required to feed one person in 1900 whereas that same half-hectare now feeds 10 persons on the basis of just one and a half days of labour. The difference,” it says, “lies in the scientific knowledge that went into developing better fertilizers, machinery, seed and crop varieties, crop rotation schemes and so on. To capitalize on the added value of science-based knowledge, applied to virtually all areas of human activity, means striving to create knowledge societies, i.e. societies with science-based knowledge.”

This belief in the potential economic benefit of science is shared in this blog and that thinking is why many countries investing heavily in science, engineering and technology education and economic develop have (Singapore woos top scientists with new labsThe Future is Engineering.

The report notes that only 56% of R&D funding in the European Union came from industry in 2001, compared to 66% and 69% respectively in the USA and Japan (2000).

The report is not available freely online – too bad. UNESCO needs to catch up with: The Future of Scholarly Publication.

3 Responses to “China challenges dominance of USA, Europe and Japan”

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