Passionate about digital and ecology // Growth of spending on science in the world has surpassed GDP, China is going into the lead

Expenditures on scientific research in the world are gradually increasing: in relation to world GDP, according to the latest data, they amount to 1.79%. But the growth in different countries is extremely uneven, follows from the data of the UNESCO global report. China is the fastest growing spending company, and it leads in the number of publications on many key technologies, as well as in the total number of international patents. Russia lags noticeably behind in spending on science – they make up less than 1% of GDP, but in some areas, in particular, on new materials, an increase in the number of publications is noted.

The share of spending on science in GDP on average worldwide increased from 1.73% in 2014 to 1.79% in 2018, spending on research increased during this time by 19.2%, while GDP – by 14. 8%, follows from the data of the UNESCO report on science, which is released every five years. At the same time, 80% of countries spend less than 1% of GDP on science, while OECD countries account for 90% of all world expenditures, personnel, issued research and registered patents.

China increased spending on science most actively – it provided 44% of global growth (the country now accounts for 24.5% of R&D expenditures, while in 2014 it was 21.2%). Most of all international patents are registered in China (31.7%), the USA (21.7%), Japan (20%) and the EU (13.9%). In Russia, the share of spending on science in GDP fell to 0.99% (in 2014 – 1.07%), in Brazil – to 1.26% (1.27%), in most countries it grew: in China – up to 2.19% (2.03%), in Germany – up to 3.09% (2.87%), in the USA – up to 2.84% (2.72%), in Turkey – up to 0.96 % (0.86%). At the same time, in absolute terms, taking into account purchasing power parity, the United States still spends more on science than China ($ 460.6 billion versus $ 439 billion). In Russia for 2018 – $ 22.6 billion, in Brazil – $ 33.3 billion, in India – $ 54 billion.

UNESCO distinguishes two main areas of scientific research – digitalization and environmental preservation. The first includes technologies of the fourth industrial revolution (from artificial intelligence and robotics to blockchain and biotechnology). Most of the research is in AI, energy, the search for new materials, followed by nanotechnology, photonics and biotech. At least 30 countries have already implemented a national strategy for the development of artificial intelligence technologies (in the Russian Federation, a separate federal project on AI was approved for this, it is supervised by the Ministry of Economy). One of the most famous strategies is the Japanese concept of creating a “society 5.0”, in which digital technologies must compensate for the effects of an aging population. In all areas (except AI), the share of China exceeds 35%, Russia has the largest amount of research on new materials – 9% of the global volume, 7.1% – in photonics and optoelectronics (both indicators have almost doubled in five years), in AI – 3.9%, in energy – 3%.

The second key area explores, among other things, reducing emissions into the atmosphere, but in 2018, 80% of the energy produced was still accounted for by coal, gas and oil. In the Russian energy sector, Standard & Poor’s notes, carbon dioxide emissions will decline more slowly than those of major trading partners, especially if the Russian Federation “continues to set unambitious environmental goals and rely on cost-competitive traditional gas generation.” The expected introduction of a cross-border carbon levy by the EU in 2023 could accelerate Russia’s adoption of measures to increase the rate of decarbonization and provide certain advantages for the Russian hydro and nuclear energy, if bilateral contracts and Russian green certificates are recognized in the world market, the rating agency concludes.

Tatiana Edovina

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