More and more OECD governments are giving firms tax breaks to drive innovation while cutting their direct spending on business research and development (R&D), and are also encouraging public research organisations to commercialise their inventions, according to a new OECD report.
The eighth edition of the Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard explores recent developments in matters relating to science, technology, globalisation and industrial performance of OECD and major non OECD countries (notably Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). It brings together over 200 figures, many of which are new to this edition, to help examine emerging policy issues including: the international mobility of researchers and scientists, the growth of the information economy, innovation by regions and industries, innovation strategies by companies, the internationalisation of research, the changing role of multinational enterprises, and new patterns in trade competitiveness and productivity. New topics concern science and industry linkages, science and technology advances in emerging technological fields, environmental technologies and the international outsourcing of production.
Major findings include:
- Investment in new knowledge, notably in R&D, is now growing in line with GDP. This contrasts with the late 1990s when investment in knowledge outpaced growth of GDP.
- Skilled workers constitute an increasing share of the labour force, notably in the services industries.
- Public policies that seek to foster innovation are being progressively reoriented, from subsidies and procurement to alternative instruments such as R&D tax relief and reinforcement of industry-science linkages.
- The pace of diffusion of information and communication technologies has become steadier than in the heady days of the late 1990s, notably in terms of broadband Internet access among households and adoption by businesses for e-commerce.
- The economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are taking further steps in many areas of the knowledge economy, most notably in terms of investment in research (in China and India), patenting and trade in high-technology industries.
- Research and S&T activities have become more internationalised, in line with the increasing globalisation of value chains. In most OECD countries foreign affiliates of multinational firms now have a higher share in R&D than in manufacturing activities.