The information in this appendix was provided by the National Science Foundation with major contributions from Arthur Fitzmaurice.
Over the past several decades, governments around the world have recognized that investment in science and engineering is integral to economic growth and wellbeing. Emerging science nations and developing countries have expanded their higher education systems and built indigenous research and development (R&D) capacity while mature R&D-investing countries work to maintain their competitive edge. These developments are changing the global context for U.S. science and engineering research and education, creating new opportunities as well as challenges for the National Science Foundation and the U.S. research community.
Increase in Global R&D expenditures
Worldwide R&D expenditure nearly doubled in the ten years leading up to 2009, reaching $1.276 trillion in 2009 (Figure I-1; National Science Board. 2012). East Asia set the pace for the global expansion, led by China where annual real R&D grew by an average of 20 percent per annum from 1999-2009 and doubled between 2009 and 2012. U.S. real R&D increased by only 29 percent over the entire 1999-2009 period, reducing the U.S. share of global R&D from 38 to 31 percent.
R&D performance remains concentrated in three regions: North America, including the U.S., Canada and Mexico, with 34 percent of the global total, or $433 billion, down from 40 percent in 1996; Asia, including East/Southeast Asia (Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, among others) and South Asia (India, for instance), accounted for 32 percent ($402 billion) of the total, up from 24 percent in 1996; and Europe, including the European Union, was responsible for another 25 percent ($319 billion) of world R&D expenditure, down from 31perecent in 1996. The rest of world—including South America, Africa, Australia/Oceania, and the Middle East—together was little changed at roughly 10 percent (National Science Board. 2012).
FIGURE I-1 Global R&D expenditures by region: 2009.
NOTES; Amount given in billions of U.S. purchasing power parity dollars. Foreign currencies converted to U.S. dollars through purchasing power parties. Some country figures are estimated. Countries are grouped according to the regions described by the World Factbooks, www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/indix.html.
SOURCES: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, estimates, July 2011. Based on data from Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, Main Science and Technology Indicators (2011/1); and United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization Institute for Statistics, http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/ReportFolders/ReportFolders.aspx, table 25, accessed July 13, 2011, Reproduced from Science and Engineering Indicators.
R&D intensity—the ratio of R&D expenditure to GDP, long considered a reliable indicator of a nation’s innovative capacity—adds another dimension to the story. In 1986 the United States led the world in R&D intensity, followed by Germany and Japan. The U.S. R&D intensity has been fairly stable over the last ten years, fluctuating between 2.6 percent and 2.9 percent, but such levels landed the United States in eighth place worldwide by 2009, behind countries such as Israel, Finland, South Korea, and Japan (National Science Board. 2012).
Shifts in the Global Science and Engineering Labor Force
Science and engineering (S&E) employment occurs throughout the world but is concentrated in developed nations. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that the number of researchers in its member countries increased 50 percent, from 1995 to 2007 (National Science Board, 2014). China reports a 300 percent increase in the number of researchers from 1995 to 2008, and South Korea, 100 percent. By contrast, U.S. and EU growth stood at 33 percent. The United States depends heavily on foreign-born S&E talent. In 2009 25 percent of S&E workers in the United States were foreign born, as were 42 percent of doctorate holders in S&E occupations (National Science Board. 2012).
The number of internationally mobile students more than tripled between 1980 and 2009 to 3.4 million, spurred in part by national programs in the country of origin (e.g. Brazil, Saudi Arabia). The United States remains the top destination for international students (Figure I-2), but its share declined from 25 percent in 2000 to 20 percent in 2009 (National Science Board. 2012) as competition for S&E graduates intensifies. To date, the implications for the United States’ ability to retain high caliber foreign born, U.S.-trained S&E doctorate recipients remain unclear. The portion of U.S. S&E doctorate recipients on temporary visas who plan to stay in the United States. peaked in 2007, but results vary by country of origin and totals remain near the historic high (Finn, 2012).
U.S. students in science and engineering disciplines are less mobile than their international peers and their U.S. counterparts in humanities (Institute of International Education, 2014). Furthermore, U.S. students who do seek study or research opportunities outside the U.S. disproportionately go to English-speaking countries, not the dynamic established and emerging investors in science and engineering research in Asia and other regions.
Growth in Collaboration
A broader distribution of research expenditures has generated a new global map of large facilities, unique infrastructure, and constellations of large equipment. Geographically distributed scientific infrastructure can also accelerate scientific progress, capture economies of scale and avoid duplication. Conversely, distribution can also mean that the best (or perhaps only) place for an American researcher to operate will be overseas. The very largest “big
FIGURE I-2 Internationally mobile students enrolled in tertiary education, by country: 2009.
NOTES: Data based on the number of students who have crossed a national boarder and moved to another country with the objective of studying (i.e., mobile students). Data for Canada for 2007 exclude private institutions. Data for Netherlands and Germany exclude advanced research programs, e.g., doctorate. Data for Belgium exclude social advancement education. Data for Russia exclude tertiary-type B programs (e.g., associate’s) in private institutions and advanced research programs (e.g., doctorate). Data for United Kingdom, United States, and Australia based on country of residence, data for Germany and Switzerland based on country of prior education; data from other countries based on country of citizenship. SOURCE: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Global Education Digest (2011). Reproduced from Science and Engineering Indicators.
science” infrastructure projects are now typically constructed and operated through multinational consortia, enabling all partners to leverage resources with shared investment.
The dynamic landscape has given birth to burgeoning multinational collaborative research. Modern science is more likely to involve real and virtual networks of collaborators around the country and globe, crossing institutional and national boundaries to strengthen their research (The Royal Society. 2011). From 1990 until 2010, the rate of internationally co-authored papers increased markedly both in the United States (from 11.7 to 31.6 percent) and around the world (9.5 to 23.8 percent) (National Science Board, 2012). Citation statistics show that such internationally collaborative research can have the greatest impact (Adams, 2013). U.S. universities are devising new and innovative international science partnerships, as they adapt to the rise in student mobility, the unmet worldwide need for higher education, and the need to facilitate collaborative projects for their faculty (National Research Council, 2012).
This major change in how science is done has generated new science policy approaches to facilitate such international science collaborations and science networks (European Commission. 2012). The Global Research Council is one example, a virtual organization of science funding agencies to share data and best practices for collaboration among funders, laying informal groundwork to support greater partnership in research. Looking to the future, this intangible infrastructure to facilitate the collaborative process will be a critical underpinning of the best science.
Adams, Jonathan. 2013. The fourth age of research. Nature 497, 557–560.
European Commission. 2012. International Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation: Strategies for a Changing World. Brussels: European Commission. Online. Available at http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/pdf/report-inco-web-5.pdf.
Finn, Michael G. 2012, January. Stay Rates of Foreign Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities, 2009. Online. Available at http://orise.orau.gov/files/sep/stay-rates-foreign-doctorate-recipients2009.pdf.
Institute of International Education. 2014. Open Doors Data. Online. Available at http://www.iie.org/Research-and-Publications/OpenDoors/Data. Accessed November 11, 2013.
National Research Council. 2012. Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation's Prosperity and Security. Washington, DC.: National Academies Press.
National Science Board. 2014. Science and Engineering Indicators 2014. Arlington VA: National Science Foundation (NSB 14-01). Online. Available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind14/index.cfm/chapter3/c3s7.htm.
National Science Board. 2012. Science and Engineering Indicators 2012. Arlington VA: National Science Foundation (NSB 12-01). Online. Available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind12/pdfstart.htm.
The Royal Society. 2011. Knowledge, networks and nations: Scientific collaboration in the 21st century. Online. Available at http://www.interacademies.net/File.aspx?id=25069.