Global and US S&E Indicators 2016

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The US National Science Board’s comprehensive biennial report puts the worldwide total at $1.671 trillion in 2013. Ten years earlier, in 2003, it was $836 billion. By these figures, the annual increase in total global R&D . . .  averaged 7.2 percent over the decade, doubling in size. But the US did not follow this trend in the same period.

“Inflation-adjusted growth in total U.S. R&D averaged only 0.8 percent annually over the 2008–13 period, behind the 1.2 percent annual average for U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Even so, the single-year metrics for 2010–11 and 2012–13 were markedly more favorable than this 5-year average: 2.7 percent in real growth for total R&D in 2010–11 versus 1.6 percent for GDP; 3.2 percent for R&D in 2012–13 versus 2.2 percent for GDP.
“By comparison, the growth of U.S. R&D averaged 3.9 percent annually in 2003–08, ahead of GDP at 2.2 percent, and over 1993–2003, U.S. R&D growth averaged 3.9 percent compared with GDP at 3.4 percent. On this basis, the R&D growth figures in 2010–11 and 2012–13 were more like those before 2008, but the longstanding U.S. trend of substantial real growth annually in R&D, well ahead of the pace of GDP, still has not returned.”

“S&E degrees, important for an innovative knowledge economy, have become relatively more prevalent in some Asian countries than in the United States: in China, nearly half of all first university degrees (49%) awarded in 2012 were in S&E, compared with 33% in the United States. Globally, the number of first university degrees in S&E reached about 6.4 million, according to the most recent estimates. Almost half of these degrees were conferred in China (23%) and India (23%); another 21% were conferred in the European Union (EU; see “Glossary” for member countries) (12%) and in the United States (9%).”