Advertisement

  • News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
BW Businessworld

Research Drives Innovation

Focused research is crucial on new drugs to combat new diseases, agricultural solutions for the vast humanity, for saving fossil fuels through affordable renewable energy sources, on innovative pollution control measures, means to obviate traffic woes in most countries, least cost housing solutions and poverty alleviation measures.

Photo Credit : ShutterStock

1486452216_DcfNbn_ed-tech.jpg

Data from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, corrected for purchasing power parity, throws up the interesting phenomenon of two of the world’s top powers competing in terms of   R&D expenditures. The United States spends $476 billion annually and China spends $370 billion, together accounting for nearly half the global R&D spend (47 per cent).

The crucial question is: Does such large-scale R&D result in innovation?The number of patents registered worldwide is a clue.

Both countries dominate the scene there, followed by countries like Japan, which incurs an R&D expenditure of $170 billion. Japan and Germany at an R&D spend of $110 billion, are among the most innovative nations in the world. South Korea has the unique distinction of spending 4.3 per cent of its GDP on R&D, which is the highest in the world and totals $73 billion. No wonder several Korean brands rule the roost across the globe.

The next five big R&D spenders are France (at $61 billion), India at seventh place (spending $48 billion on R&D), followed by UK (at $44 billion), Brazil (at $42 billion) and Russia at $40 billion. But the expenditure on R&D of none of these five countries touch even 2.5 per cent of their GDP. Hence, pathbreaking research results still elude them.

Israel is close to South Korea in spending 4.2 per cent of its GDP on cutting edge R&D. It boasts of a large number of innovative goods that emanate from its shores annually, including some delivered by leading startups announced by the Israeli Prime Minister.
In the Defence sector alone, the country has a valuable IPR from new-age technologies.

India accounts for 3.7 per cent of global R&D. With 1200 MNCs putting up their research centres here, India is becoming a leading hub of innovation in recent  years. Data indicates that 250 firms with the highest R & D spend globally have established their base in the country to tap into India’s large talent pool in crucial focus areas like ICT, pharma, aviation, health and manufacturing.
Research and development in engineering alone is expected to touch $38 billion by 2020. The government needs to increasingly realise the strong linkage between innovation and R&D and incentivise cutting edge solutions to our myriad problems.

Barring the top 15 R&D spenders, the remaining 165 odd countries together incur R&D expenses of $250 billion and hence, their average spend is less than $2 billion. No wonder their innovation outcomes are not noteworthy. The two nations that still stand out are Switzerland and Finland, putting nearly 3.2 per cent of their GDP in R&D and delivering top-notch world-class products.

Focused research is crucial on new drugs to combat new diseases, agricultural solutions for the vast humanity, for saving fossil fuels through affordable renewable energy sources, on innovative pollution control measures, means to obviate traffic woes in most countries, least cost housing solutions and poverty alleviation measures.

The more inclusive the R&D, the faster will be its spread. Making R&D attractive worldwide, is the need of the hour.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Tags assigned to this article:
data Research

J.K. Dadoo

The author is a retired IAS officer

More From The Author >>
sentifi.com

Top themes and market attention on: