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8101.0 - Innovation and Technology Update (Newsletter), Nov 1999  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/05/2000   
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8. FEATURE ARTICLE: EXPENDITURE ON R&D - HOW DOES AUSTRALIA COMPARE INTERNATIONALLY?

The most commonly used indicator for comparison purposes is the ratio of expenditure on R&D to Gross Domestic Product. As the table below shows, in 1996-97 Australia spent 1.68% of its GDP on R&D, ranking it slightly above Canada and well below some of the leading industrialised countries such as Japan (2.83%), Korea (2.79%), Switzerland (2.74%), the United States (2.62%), Finland (2.58%), France (2.32%), Germany (2.29%), the Netherlands (2.09%), Denmark (2.01%) and the United Kingdom (1.94%).

In terms of business R&D, Australia's ratio of R&D expenditure to GDP (0.80%) is again below the ratios for the industrialised countries referred to earlier, but is also lower than for Canada (0.99%).

For government sector R&D as a percentage of GDP, Australia ranks higher. A ratio to GDP of 0.40% places it fifth in the group of OECD member countries for which data are available, behind only Iceland (0.62%), France (0.47%), Korea (0.45%) and Finland (0.41%). Government sector R&D as a percentage of GDP is much larger for Australia than for Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom.

For the higher education sector, Australia also ranks quite highly. With a ratio to GDP of 0.45%, it ranks behind only Switzerland (0.67%), the Netherlands (0.60%) and Finland (0.47%). However, the Australian ratio is very similar to the ratios for a number of other countries including Japan, the United States, France, Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom.


EXPENDITURE ON R&D AS A PERCENTAGE OF GDP, OECD COUNTRIES,
1996-97


Country
Business
Government
Higher Education
Total (a)

Japan
2.01
0.27
0.42
2.83
Korea
2.04
0.45
0.26
2.79
Switzerland
1.94
0.07
0.67
2.74
United States
1.92
0.23
0.39
2.62
Finland
1.71
0.41
0.47
2.58
France
1.43
0.47
0.39
2.32
Germany
1.51
0.35
0.42
2.29
Netherlands
1.10
0.37
0.60
2.09
Denmark
1.25
0.32
0.42
2.01
United Kingdom
1.26
0.28
0.38
1.94
Australia
0.80
0.40
0.45
1.68
Canada
0.99
0.26
0.36
1.63
Iceland
0.47
0.62
0.36
1.51
Czech Republic
0.64
0.33
0.09
1.07
Italy
0.56
0.22
0.25
1.03
Spain
0.42
0.16
0.28
0.87
Poland
0.31
0.24
0.21
0.76
Hungary
0.29
0.19
0.16
0.66
Turkey
0.12
0.05
0.28
0.45

(a) Includes Private Non-Profit.

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