19/10/2015 (Daejeon, Korea) - Thanks to robust skills and investment in R&D, Korea is leading in the development of frontier technologies with potential to transform production processes, stimulate the entry of new firms, and the launch of ground-breaking products and applications, according to a new OECD report.
The Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2015 finds that over the past 20 years, Korean R&D spending as a share of GDP has doubled to reach one of the highest levels in the OECD area, at 4.15% in 2013, compared to an OECD average of 2.4% (see graph).
This investment has placed Korea at the frontier in the development of cutting-edge technologies:
Korea’s lead is built upon strong education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines, with the highest percentage of tertiary graduates in natural science and engineering in the OECD area (32% in 2012). The share of R&D personnel in total employment in the country has doubled over the past 10 years.
"With its R&D-intensive manufacturing sector, skilled human resource base and firms operating at the global technology frontier, Korea is ready for the next production revolution," said Andrew Wyckoff, Director for Science, Technology and Innovation at the OECD.
Fig. 1. Total expenditure on R&D, OECD and selected economies, 1995-2013
As a percentage of GDP
Source: OECD (2015), OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2015: Innovation for Growth, OECD
With Korean firms increasingly operating at the technological frontier, investment in fundamental research will be a key challenge, as will strengthening collaboration across firms and with the research sector, as well connecting to knowledge abroad, including through greater international mobility of researchers.
>> Read the country note for Korea (OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2015)
The STI Scoreboard 2015 tracks trends in science, technology and industry to understand how innovation is evolving and how countries are positioning themselves in the global knowledge economy. It includes over 200 internationally comparable indicators and provides a broad range of statistics for other major economies such as Brazil, China, India, and the Russian Federation.
For further information, please contact Naoko Kawaguchi (00.81.3) 5532.0026 in the OECD Media Office in Tokyo .