(19 October 2015) – Countries should step up their investment in long-term R&D to develop frontier technologies that will reshape industry, healthcare and communications and provide urgently needed solutions to global challenges like climate change, according to a new OECD report.
A breakdown of patent data in the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2015 puts the United States, Japan and Korea far in the lead in a new generation of “disruptive” technologies in advanced materials, health, and information and communication technology that have the potential to displace existing processes.
The report shows that the US, Japan and Korea accounted for over 65% of patent families in advanced materials, health and new ICT-related technologies filed in Europe and the US in 2010-12.
Cuts to R&D spending threaten to destabilise science and research systems in many advanced economies, the OECD warns.
Given that 70% of R&D in the OECD area takes place within the business sector, and tends to focus on developing specific applications that improve on previous versions, the report underscores the need for governments to keep up their spending on the more open-ended “basic research” that can spawn brand new findings and inventions relevant to a range of potential users.