R&D: Global Research reached $1.2 Trillions in 2011

R&D: Global Research reached $1.2 Trillions in 2011
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Battelle: “The global R&D outlook for 2011 is increasingly stable and positive, according to analysis performed by Battelle Memorial
Institute and R&D Magazine. Having endured one of the worst recessionary periods in recent memory, R&D managers are adapting to expectations of moderate sustainable growth while competing on a global scale for market share and resources. Reflecting recent trends, prospects for R&D funding vary by region, with the United States (U.S.) expecting R&D growth to track GDP growth, Europe contemplating fiscal austerity that may restrict investment for several years, and most Asian countries maintaining strong financial commitments to R&D.

Global R&D Spending is increasing

Total global spending on R&D is anticipated to increase 3.6%, to almost $1.2 trillion. With Asia’s stake continuing to increase, the geographic distribution of this investment will continue a shift begun more than five years ago. The U.S., however, still dominates absolute spending at a level well above its share of global GDP.

During the recession, the Asian R&D communities generally, and China specifically, increased their R&D investment and stature. As a Reuters headline noted, “While the world slashed R&D in a crisis, China innovated”. China entered the recession with a decade of strong economic growth. During that time, it increased R&D spending roughly 10% each year—a pace the country maintained
during the 2008-2009 recession. This sustained commitment set China apart from many other nations.

US First, Asia growing

In the U.S., a recession-related drop in industrial R&D spending in 2009 is expected to be recovered by increases
in 2010 and 2011 at levels exceeding the rate of inflation. For federally-sponsored R&D, 2010’s election results and increased attention on government spending could signal future pressure on funding. The high level of defense R&D spending (more than two-thirds of the federal total) may be among the first areas reviewed.

Cuts in DOD mission-specific R&D, however, should not seriously affect the broad science and technology foundation supported by NSF, NIH, NIST, and the DOE’s Office of Science. Some observers note that R&D funded by these agencies more directly affects U.S. competitiveness and economic growth than does defense related R&D.

A Declining Europe

Among the global research communities, the state of R&D in the European Union (EU) is the most concerning. Challenged by weak economies in Greece, Spain, and Ireland, Europe is struggling to recover from the recession and to cut deficits, which in turn affects government support of R&D. As the Washington Post observed, “The pressure on European science … is yet another legacy of the
financial crisis.” The EU’s ambitious goal to increase its R&D funding to at least the level of the U.S. (2.7% of GDP) has gone
unmet, and that may continue to be the case for some time.”

More: Battelle –  http://www.battelle.org/aboutus/rd/2011.pdf