Government and Industry
Continue to Grow Global R&D
R&D Magazine published its very first R&D Funding Forecast in January 1959 and in that report it was esti- mated that $12 billion would be invested in R&D that
year in the United States—72% by U.S. industry, 16% by the
U.S. government and the remaining 12% by U.S. academia.
A lot has changed in those intervening 60 years. Obviously,
R&D is no longer the exclusive province of the United States.
R&D is now a global undertaking totaling more than $2.3
trillion annually and performed by more than 115 countries.
The U.S. still maintains a leadership role in R&D endeavors,
but other countries are eager to compete for the value, new
technologies and new products created by aggressive and innovative R&D investments.
Our 60th annual Global R&D Funding Forecast—which
became global in 2006 when total R&D spend first exceeded
$1 trillion—is forecast to grow globally by 3.6% in 2019 to $2.3
trillion in purchasing power parity (PPP) values for the 116
countries having significant R&D investments (more than $20
million). The 2019 increase is less than the 4.1% increase seen
in 2018 due to an expected slowing of the global economic
growth seen over the past decade.
The Global R&D Funding Forecast is provided by R&D Mag-
azine as a public service for scientists, engineers and research
managers for use in preparing their R&D budgets compared to
the global R&D environment. This exclusive report is a combi-
nation of the industrial, government and academic investments
by the R&D spending countries of the world. These invest-
ments are largely influenced by the value and growth of each
country’s gross domestic products (GDP).
R&D Magazine’s Global R&D Funding Forecast is based on
science, technology and economic survey data from various sources. These include the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), the World Bank, the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the U.S. Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA), along with multiple reader surveys
performed by the editors of R&D Magazine.
While U.S. R&D spending continues to see annual increases,
its overall share of the global R&D investments continues to
shrink as other countries increase their R&D spending at a
higher rate than that of the U.S. Ten years ago, the U.S.’s share
of the $1.143 trillion total global investment then was about
34%, while China’s share was 12.5%.
Today, the U.S. share is about 25% and China’s share is more
than 22%. Those trends have continued over the past decade in a
mostly linear fashion and without pause. The policies and strategies of China’s R&D investment policies continues unabated.
Share of Total Global R&D Spending
2017 2018 2019
North America 27.72% 27.29% 27.07%
South America 2.36% 2.27% 2.22%
Asia 42.67% 43.53% 44.24%
Europe 20.98% 20.64% 20.31%
Russia 2.87% 2.87% 2.79%
Middle East 2.50% 2.52% 2.50%
Africa 0.90% 0.88% 0.87%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
U.S. 25.57% 25.18% 24.98%
China 21.16% 21.61% 22.32%
Japan 8.82% 8.52% 8.30%
Germany 5.46% 5.38% 5.30%
South Korea 4.06% 4.01% 4.02%
India 3.66% 3.84% 4.04%
Total 68.73% 68.54% 68.96%
As noted in this Table, U.S. and European investments
as shares of the total global R&D spending have
been declining over the past decade, while Asian
R&D investments, especially that of China, have
been increasing as a share of the total global R&D
investment. China’s massive R&D increases have been
driving most of this investment which is expected to
continue as stated in China’s current Five-Year Plan.
Smaller R&D regions, including Africa, South America,
Russia/CIS and the Middle East are expected to
maintain their comparatively small global R&D shares
for at least the next five years.