Innovation in science, technology and industry

Main Science and Technology Indicators


Last update: MSTI 2017/1 (August 2017)
Next update: MSTI 2017/2 (February 2018)

Main Science and Technology Indicators full database

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Summary highlights

The latest available data show that R&D intensity - expenditure on R&D as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - across OECD countries remained stable at 2.4% in 2015. Israel narrowly overtook Korea as the country with the highest Research and Development (R&D) intensity (4.25% compared to 4.23%), reclaiming the top-spot after 2 years in second place. R&D intensity plateaued at 1.96% in the EU area, rose marginally to 2.79% in the United States, and slightly declined in Japan to 3.29%. Meanwhile, China continued its steady increase, reaching 2.07% in 2015.

Across OECD countries, real expenditure on R&D grew by 2.3% in 2015, powered by business enterprises (+2.7%), which represent 69.1% of total R&D in the OECD in 2015.  Meanwhile, real R&D expenditure grew by 1.3% in the higher education sector and by 1.4% in the government sector. 

In OECD, government budget allocations for R&D increased (in real, PPP terms) by 3.1% in 2016, after a long period of declining R&D budgets; nevertheless, they remain 7.5% below their 2009 level, having fallen by 10% in the period to 2015. Related to this, government-financed R&D, as recorded by surveys of R&D performers (rather than amounts budgeted for R&D by government) declined by 3.9% between 2010 and 2015.

These figures on government funding do not include the (off R&D budget) cost of tax incentives for business R&D, where they exist, which have been increasing in many countries -though often not enough to offset budget cuts. The latest OECD data on the cost and design of R&D tax incentives ( provide an up-to-date and comprehensive overview of government efforts to incentivise business R&D across OECD and other major economies.

The latest patent data show the number of patents filed by Chinese inventors continued to rise in 2015, while filings under the Patent Cooperation Treaty by United States inventors declined.


About MSTI

The MSTI database provides a set of indicators that reflect the level and structure of efforts in the field of science and technology undertaken from 1981 onwards by OECD Member countries and seven non-member economies: Argentina, China, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Chinese Taipei.  These data include final or provisional results as well as forecasts established by government authorities.  The indicators cover the resources devoted to research and development, patent families, technology balance of payments and international trade in R&D-intensive industries.

Indicators on R&D expenditures, budgets, and personnel are derived from the OECD’s Research and Development Statistics database (RDS), which is based on the data reported to OECD and Eurostat in the framework of the joint OECD/Eurostat international data collection on resources devoted to R&D.

The sources for the other indicators include the OECD databases on Activities of Multinational Enterprises (AMNE), on Bilateral Trade in Goods by Industry and End-use category database (BTDIxE), on Patents, and the Technological Balance of Payments (TBP).

Details of coverage


Accessing MSTI

The electronic edition is available via the OECD’s data dissemination service, “OECD.stat”From there, the MSTI Excel file can be downloaded by clicking “export” and then “related files”. The MSTI database is also available online through OECDiLibrary.

The OECD R&D and GBARD Sources and Methods Database contains metadata relating to series presented in MSTI and RDS.


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