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General Science and Engineering Indicators
R&D Investment Patterns
S&E Workforce Development
Knowledge Output

Selected Education Indicators
High School Completion Patterns
High School Teachers
Higher Education Enrollments

Selected Global Marketplace Indicators
R&D share of GDP in Selected Countries
Annual Productivity Growth in Selected Countries
World Share of Value-Added Revenues of High-Technology Manufacturing
World Share of Value-Added Revenues for Market-Oriented, Knowledge-Intensive Services


The United States had the second largest R&D/ GDP ratio among the G7 countries, spending about 2.6% of GDP on R&D activities in 2006.

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Why is this indicator important?

  • The ratio of R&D expenditures to GDP is often used to examine R&D as a proportion of a nation's overall economic activity.
  • This ratio is a useful indicator of the "intensity" of R&D activity in relation to other economic activities and can be used to gauge a nation's commitment to R&D at different points in time.

Key Observations

  • Rate of growth for Germany increased by 0.33 from 1994 to 2005, while the United States increased by 0.20 during that same period.
  • Since 2000, Japan continues to lead while China demonstrates the biggest growth.

Related Discussion

  • The general growth in the U.S. R&D/GDP ratio since 1979 can be attributed to a steady increase in non-Federal R&D spending.
  • Growth in the R&D/GDP ratio does not necessarily imply increased R&D expenditures. For an extended discussion on the R&D/GDP ratio see SEI 2008 Chapter 4.
  • In absolute terms, this indicator can mask signi´Čücant R&D activity for countries with relatively large economies (e.g., China).