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R&D gap between advanced, emerging economies narrows: UNESCO   2010-11-10 17:36:49 FeedbackPrintRSS

PARIS, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- Emerging economies are catching up with developed ones in science and technology on the back growing investment in research and development, according to the UN 2010 Science Report, published Tuesday.

The UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched the report at its headquarters here to mark World Science Day.

UNESCO says the 2008 global financial crisis has resulted in a dramatic fall in R&D investment in advanced economies, particularly the United States. However, China, India and Brazil, which were far less affected, have led the emerging economies in accelerating the catch up.

Asia's share of gross domestic expenditure on R&D, led mainly by China, India and South Korea, increased from 27 to 32 percent between 2002 and 2007, while the European Union, the United States and Japan registered a decrease, said the report.

"The distribution of research and development efforts between North and South has changed with the emergence of new players in the global economy," UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova commented.

Formerly dominant players in science and technology are giving way to "a multi-polar world, with an increasing number of public and private research hubs spreading" to more emerging economies, she said.

According to the report, the emerging economies' share of researchers and scientific publications in the world recorded a significant increase up to 2007, led by increases from China, Brazil and Russia.

In addition, Internet connections leapt during the analysis period, especially in Africa, the Arab states and Latin America. "The rapid diffusion of the Internet in the South is one of the most promising new trends of the Millennium," the report says.

However, in terms of patents, and preferable hubs for researchers and scientists, the United States, Europe and Japan are still top, UNESCO said.

The U.S. Patents and Trademark Office, European Patent Office and Japan Patent Office claim the lion's share in global patent volumes and are widely regarded as of high quality.

Meanwhile, India, Turkey, some countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia are, according to the report, particularly challenged with continuous "brain drain" problems.

Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) cited in a British study in 2008 showed 20 million out of 59 million migrants living in the OECD area were highly qualified.

Bokova called in the report foreword for more regional and international scientific co-operation, in particular south-south cooperation, to "address the interrelated, complex and growing global challenges."

Editor: Tang Danlu
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