TWENTY years ago North America, Europe and Japan produced almost all of the world’s science. They were the aristocrats of technical knowledge, presiding over a centuries-old regime. They spent the most, published the most and patented the most. And what they produced fed back into their industrial, military and medical complexes to push forward innovation, productivity, power, health and prosperity.
All good things, though, come to an end, and the reign of these scientific aristos is starting to look shaky. In 1990 they carried out more than 95% of the world’s research and development (R&D). By 2007 that figure was
China is on the verge of overtaking both America and the EU in the quantity of its scientists. Each had roughly 1.5m researchers out of a global total of
7.2m in 2007.
Its obvious that the US, EU and Japan are still overwhelming the leaders in this space but, after reading this article, I started to question if this will still be true in 15-20 years.