11/10/2005 - Offshoring of research and development is on the rise, with more multinationals setting up research and development (R&D) laboratories abroad, according to a new OECD report. In Hungary and Ireland, for example, foreign companies account for 70% of industrial R&D but the role played by foreign affiliates varies widely around the world. At over 40%, the share of R&D conducted by multinationals is also high in the Czech Republic, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, compared to less than 5% in Japan.
According to the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2005, the importance of non-OECD-countries in driving global innovation is increasing fast. China has become the third largest R&D performer behind the United States and Japan, largely due to the rapid growth in researcher salaries that have encouraged talented Chinese scientists and engineers to remain in China.
Japan is the least active OECD country in international co-operation in patenting. Less than 4% of domestic inventions in Japan are owned by foreigners, compared with over 12% in the United States and 37.5% in the United Kingdom. Japan is also the least involved in international collaboration, with less than 3% of its patents being the result of such collaboration, compared with almost 12% for the United States and over 21% for the United Kingdom.
The Scoreboard also reveals worrying evidence of falling interest in scientific studies in OECD countries, with only one in four on average graduating in those subjects. Students and skilled workers are also becoming more mobile, with flows into the OECD increasingly coming from outside the OECD area. In Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Switzerland, more than 30% of highly-skilled workers are migrants; in Japan and Korea, migrants account for less than 1% of highly-skilled workers.
With a wide range of internationally comparable indicators, the OECD Scoreboard gives policy makers and analysts a comprehensive overview of the growing impact of globalisation on the knowledge economy. In addition to analysis of developments in the international mobility of researchers and scientists, the growth in patenting, the role of multinational companies and the rapid diffusion of new information technologies, it also focuses on the emergence of key international players outside the OECD area, notably China and Russia.
Among its findings are :
The report is available for journalists from the password protected website or from SourceOECD (http://www.sourceoecd.org/scoreboard). For more information, the journalists should contact the OECD's Media Relations Division. For further information about this report, please contact Dirk Pilat (tel. + 33 1 45 24 87 49), OECD’s Science, Technology and Industry Directorate (see website www.oecd.org/sti/scoreboard).