Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation

Main Science and Technology Indicators


Last update: MSTI 2018/2 (February 2019)
Next update: MSTI 2019/1 (July 2019)

Main Science and Technology Indicators full database

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Below are key highlights from the latest MSTI data. You can also download a more detailed exposition of development (pdf).

The latest available data on expenditure on Research and Development (R&D) for OECD countries and other major economies published in the OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators shows that R&D intensity (expenditure on R&D as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, GDP) in the OECD area rose slightly from 2.34% in 2016 to 2.37% in 2017. This was largely driven by growth in the United States, Japan, Germany and Korea, offsetting a decline in Canada and several other European economies such as France, Italy and the United Kingdom. In 2017, Korea and Israel continued to be the countries with the highest R&D intensity, at 4.55% and 4.54% of GDP, respectively.



Real expenditure on R&D in the OECD area grew by 3.8% in 2017. Business enterprises accounted for the first time in 2017 for more than 70% of all the R&D performed in OECD countries, after growing by 4.8% in that year. In contrast, R&D carried out in the Higher Education (HE) sector grew by 1.6%, while R&D performed in government institutions increased by 1.3%. Ten years after the onset of the global financial crisis, business R&D is now 28% higher than 2007 despite a marked drop in 2009, while HE and Government sectors are 23% and 9% higher, respectively. Businesses are also the main driver of R&D growth in China, where government R&D trends do not lag the growth in HE.




The latest government budget data for the OECD area, which present the amounts allocated by governments for R&D rather than actual expenditure reported by R&D performers, show an increase of 0.9% in real terms in 2017, less than the 3.3% growth reported in 2016. Preliminary estimates also suggest a bigger increase of 1.8% for 2018, apparently boosted by a recovery in defence-related R&D funding. Indirect tax-based support measures, which are not part of R&D budget estimates, have been increasing in importance in recent years, often crowding out direct government support (see R&D budgets were down in the United States in 2017 compared to 2016, offset by strong growth in Germany, France and Japan on that year. R&D budgets in Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the United States are below 2007 pre-crisis levels. Comparable R&D budget data are not available for China.



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, 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) and on Patents.


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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