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Characteristics of government research funding

REIs fit within a diverse country pattern of funding public R&D. Government accounts for a majority of R&D financing in the government and higher education sectors across the OECD, although the proportion of higher education research and development (HERD) financed by government has fallen over the past three decades (Figure 1.3). Government-financed HERD fell from over 80% in the early 1980s to around 70% in the most recent years. This compares to the higher, and largely stable, proportion of government intramural expenditure on R&D (GOVERD) financed by government.

Figure 1.3. Percentage of GOVERD and HERD financed by government, OECD 1981-2010

Source: OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators (MSTI) Database, April 2013.

The pattern of government funding varies among countries. Figures 1.4 and 1.5 show the proportion of GOVERD and HERD financed by government for the most recent year for which data are available. Government finances most of GOVERD in all countries, ranging from 100% in the United States to just above 50% in the Netherlands and Belgium. The percentage of R&D in the higher education sector financed by government is slightly more varied. However, it is mainly financed by government in most countries - only in Turkey and Israel is the proportion less than 50%.

Figure 1.4. Percentage of GOVERD financed by government sector, 2011 or latest available year

Notes: 2011 unless labelled: (1) 2010; (2) 2009; (2) 2008; or (4) 2005. Source: OECD Research and Development Database, April 2013.

Figure 1.5. Percentage of HERD financed by government sector, 2011 or latest available year

Notes: 2011 unless labelled: (1) 2010; (2) 2009; (2) 2008; or (4) 2005. Source: OECD Research and Development Database, April 2013.

In terms of raw expenditure by countries, the largest OECD economies naturally dominate (Figures 1.6 and 1.7). OECD countries collectively spent USD 118 billion (in 2005 prices) on HERD and USD 100 billion on GOVERD in 2010.

Figure 1.6. Government expenditure on HERD, 2011 or latest available year

USD 2005 prices and PPPs million

Notes: 2011 unless labelled: (1) 2010; (2) 2009; (2) 2008; or (4) 2005. Figures for Australia and China are calculated by multiplying the percentage of government-financed HERD by HERD expenditure in the previous year. Data for Iceland are provisional. The figure for HERD in Israel excludes R&D in the social sciences and humanities.

Source: OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators (MSTI) Database and OECD Research and Development Database, April 2013.

Figure 1.7. Government expenditure on GOVERD, 2011 or latest available year

USD 2005 prices and PPPs million

Notes: 2011 unless labelled: (1) 2010; (2) 2009; (2) 2008; or (4) 2005. Owing to data availability, figures for Argentina, China, the Russian Federation, Singapore and South Africa are calculated by multiplying the percentage of government-financed GOVERD by GOVERD expenditure in the previous year. Data for Iceland are provisional. The figure for GOVERD excludes defence. GOVERD for Germany and the Netherlands includes other classes and for Switzerland is federal government only.

Source: OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators (MSTI) Database and OECD Research and Development Database, April 2013.

 
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