OECD report: Internationalisation of R&D speeding up

According to the OECD, multinationals are increasingly offshoring their R&D, but the role played by foreign affiliates varies widely around the world. 

The OECD ‘Science, technology and industry scoreboard 2005 – Towards a knowledge-based economy’ makes an international overview of trends in R&D and innovation.

The report indicates that R&D activities are increasingly internationalised, but the share of foreign affiliates in industrial R&D varies widely – less than 5% in Japan, over 70% in Hungary and Ireland. Also patenting activity is heavily concentrated as, in 2001, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States accounted for 83.6% of all patents in the EU, US and Japan. 

The scoreboard highlights the emergence of key international players outside the OECD area, notably China and Russia. China has become the third largest R&D performer behind the United States and Japan, mainly because researchers’ increased salaries encourage talented Chinese scientists and engineers to remain in China. 

The report also shows significant decline of the 
business R&D intensity in the United States and indicates that three-quarters of the growth in the government R&D budget in the United States between 2001 and 2005 is attributable to defence R&D.

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