Which countries spend the most on research and development?

'Research and Development' highlighted in green

Research and development is the bedrock of innovation. A big investment in R&D indicates a thriving and entrepreneurial industrial spirit, and figures from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) highlight the countries spending the most – and least – on this important driver of economic growth, which covers three activities: basic research, applied research and experimental development.


Israel and Korea are the biggest spenders on R&D at 4.21% and 4.15% of GDP respectively. Japan, Finland and Sweden complete the top 5.

Germany and the United States have similar levels of R&D investment at just under 3%, and while China has built its economy making products designed and developed overseas, its research spend is rapidly catching up at 2% of GDP.

Of the OECD member nations, Chile spends the least on R&D at 0.36%, with Romania and Mexico only slightly ahead.

If you’d like to learn more, read What is government’s role in sparking innovation?and 10 ways countries can improve their competitiveness.

Source agenda.weforum.org

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