Scientific research in countries around the world is vital in making key progression in medicine, technology and almost every other area of our lives.
There’s no single measure that can capture global scientific progress, but by evaluating R&D spending and patents, and looking at the number of researchers and academic papers a country has, we can see the leading indicators of a nation’s commitment to be at the forefront of scientific discovery.
RS Components have analysed each country across four different metrics: number of patents, number of scientific research papers released, percentage of GDP spend on research and development, and number of researchers per 1,000 people. Each country was then allocated a score based on their figures for each metric with their overall score determining their final rank within the index. You can view the full findings here.
In terms of overall score, the index revealed that the USA was the leading science capital of the world with an overall score of 75.07, and Israel, South Korea, Japan and Sweden joining the top five. Romania, South Africa Mexico, and Chile are amongst the lowest scoring on the Science Capitals index.
European countries appear to dominate the top 20 scientific capitals, despite Sweden being the only European country in the top five. United Kingdom ranks in at a very respectable 15th place, between Norway and Singapore.
When looking at the metrics individually, Israel ranks in first place as the top country for R&D spending, and for number of researchers per 1,000. Israel has 17 scientific researchers per 1,000 of the employed population, as well as dedicating 4.25% of it’s GDP to R&D spending. Israel also makes the top ten countries for number of scientific patents, with 3,804.
The United States tops both the top ten countries for number of research papers, as well as the top ten countries for number of patents. The US has a staggering 26,855 research papers, almost double the 14,234 research papers of second place China. The US also dedicates approximately 2.75% of its GDP to R&D spending, and around 9 scientific researchers per 1,000 employed.
Global ‘leaders’ China and the UK are ranked surprisingly low on the index – in 20th and 15th places respectively. Previous reports have deemed China as the country set to become a global science leader by 2025, as a result of its huge population and increase in students studying STEM and consequent rising number of Chinese scientists and engineers. However, the analysis revealed that despite this, the country only has 2 scientific researchers per 1,000 employed, ranking in as one of the lowest countries for number of researchers.
A spokesperson from RS Components comments:
‘Science is continuing to adapt and progress globally, with no denying the groundbreaking solutions it has created and continues to make to help combat a breadth of issues, from epidemic diseases to the everyday cold.
The United States of America comes out as a clear winner in scientific discovery with 9 in 1,000 people working in some form of scientific progress. What we found particularly interesting was the United Kingdom’s ranking in 15th place throughout the world for scientific discovering – showing that as much as we, a nation, have a considerably high amount of researchers, we lack the number of patents that are registered.
Science is constantly adapting and aiming to help cure and combat diseases worldwide and it is clear to see that as a human race we prioritise its success and funding.’
Is your country a science capital of the world? Use the interactive tool to see how your country stacks up against some of the global superpowers.