Innovation in science, technology and industry

Main Science and Technology Indicators


Last update: MSTI 2016/1, June 2016
Next update: MSTI 2016/2, January 2017

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Provisional data for 2015 indicates that public R&D budgets in the OECD area continued their downward trend since 2010 after briefly stabilising in 2014. Among countries for which 2015 data are available, more than half have decreased their R&D budgets in real terms and the estimated area total has dropped by 1.3%. In a number of cases, this decline may have been mitigated through growing support through R&D tax incentives, which have been increasing in relative importance over time. On the basis of leading budget data, it is expected that R&D performed in government and higher education institutions in the OECD also declined in 2015.

The most recent data on Gross Domestic Expenditures on R&D (GERD) for the OECD suggest that annual GERD grew in 2014 by 2.3% in real terms, a slower pace compared to the previous year (+3.0%). This recent growth in the OECD has been mainly driven by a steady increase in R&D performed by business (+2.8%). R&D expenditures recovered in government institutions (+1.3%) after a previous fall but stayed constant in higher education (+0.2%). As a percentage of GDP, GERD remained unchanged at 2.4%.

In China, 2014 saw R&D expenditures reaching the milestones 2% of GDP (the target set in the 2006-2010 plan for 2010). While China’s GERD continued to grow very rapidly (+9% in real terms) in 2014, this represented China’s lowest GERD growth since 1996. Korea has the world’s largest R&D intensity (4.3% in 2014) ahead of Israel (4.1%) for the second year in a row. 

msti R&D budgets, Total GBAORD
Source: OECD, calculations based on Main Science and Technology Indicators,, June 2016.

msti, R&D intensity: Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP

Source: OECD, Main Science and Technology Indicators Database, June 2016.


About MSTI

The MSTI database provides a set of indicators that reflect the level and structure of the efforts undertaken by OECD Member countries and seven non-member economies (Argentina, China, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Chinese Taipei) in the field of science and technology from 1981 onwards. 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 (RDS) database, 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 Foreign Affiliates (AFA), on Bilateral Trade in Goods by Industry and End-use Category database (BTDIxE), on Patents and on Technological Balance of Payments (TBP).‌‌‌‌ 

Details of coverage


The electronic edition is available via the OECD’s data dissemination service. Once you are on OECD.stat, the MSTI excel file can be downloaded by clicking “export” and then “related files”.

MSTI is combined with the OECD’s RDS (Research and Development Statistics) database in “OECD Science, Technology and R&D Statistics”. This product is available on the Online Bookshop. The MSTI database is also available online at OECDiLibrary.


The OECD R&D and GBAORD Sources and Methods Databases, relating to series presented in Main Science and Technology Indicators and Research and Development Statistics are available at:


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