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Economy

Forecast downturn in public R&D investments

A study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which brings together 35 of the world’s most industrialized countries, indicates that average public investments in research and development (R&D) by member nations have fallen in recent years. The United Kingdom, for example, invested around 1.8% of government spending in R&D in 2000, but by 2015 the percentage had dropped to roughly 1.4%. The same trend was observed in the United States, which directed nearly 2.5% of its budget to R&D in 2000 but cut the figure to just over 2% in 2015. Countries like France, Mexico, Brazil (not an OECD member), Australia, Spain, and Israel likewise curtailed public spending on research. Other countries, like South Korea, Germany, Portugal, Chile, and Argentina, increased R&D budgeting South Korea, for example, raised its rate from just short of 2.5% in 2000 to over 3.5% in 2015. According to the report, earlier growth in public R&D budgets flattened out in many developed nations after 2009 in response to the world economic crisis. The report says that continued pressure on public finances and sluggish economic growth in many countries suggests that public investments in R&D should level off at current levels or drop further in coming years.

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