Last update: 2019/2 (February 28, 2020)
Next update: 2020/1 (July 2020)

Main Science and Technology Indicators full database

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This page presents key highlights from the latest MSTI data.

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Research and development (R&D) intensity (expenditure on R&D as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, GDP) in the OECD area rose from 2.37% in 2017 to 2.40% in 2018, according to the latest data published on February 28 in the OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators (MSTI) database. This increase, which follows a similar rise between 2016 and 2017, was driven by faster real growth in R&D expenditure (+3.8%) compared to GDP (+2.3%). The OECD area has not seen comparable growth in R&D expenditure over a two-year period since before the 2008 global financial crisis. Growth in R&D intensity was widespread across the majority of OECD countries in 2018, with the United States, Japan, Germany and Korea accounting for much of the increase. In some countries, such as Canada and Sweden, R&D expenditure remained stagnant. R&D intensity in the EU28 area surpassed the 2% threshold for the first time, rising from 1.98% to 2.03%, due in large part to trends in Germany, the United Kingdom and Poland. Israel and Korea displayed the highest levels of R&D intensity among OECD countries in 2018, at 4.9% and 4.5% of GDP, respectively.



Real expenditure on R&D in the OECD area grew by 3.8% in 2018, mostly driven by the R&D performance behaviour of businesses, which accounted for more than 75% of this growth. The Business Enterprise sector, which accounts for 71% of all R&D performance in the OECD area, saw its R&D expenditure increase by 4.2% in 2018. R&D in the Higher Education (HE) sector grew by 2.3%, while R&D expenditures in the Government sector rose by 4.0% — the highest rate since 2009. Yet R&D performance among government institutions remains only 13% higher than it was before the onset of the global financial crisis – on par with 2010 levels – and it accounts for less than 10% of OECD R&D expenditure. By contrast, Higher Education and Business Enterprise R&D have increased by 27% and 34%, respectively, compared to 2007.




Government R&D budget indicators for the OECD area present the amounts that governments allocate for R&D, rather than actual expenditure reported by R&D performers. The latest indicators show that R&D budgets rose by 5.6%, in real terms, in 2018, marking the highest increase since 2009 and pushing budget allocations for R&D above their 2009 peak. This is primarily due to growth in budgeted R&D support in Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Preliminary estimates also suggest a significant but more moderate increase in R&D budgets for 2019 (+2.47%). Indirect tax-based support measures, which are not part of R&D budget estimates, have been increasing in importance in recent years, often crowding out direct government support. Indirect tax-based support measures, which are not part of R&D budget estimates, have been increasing in importance in recent years, often crowding out direct government support (see 






About MSTI

The MSTI database provides a set of indicators that reflect the level and structure of efforts in the field of science and technology undertaken from 1981 onwards by OECD Member countries and seven non-member economies: Argentina, China, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Chinese Taipei.  These data include final or provisional results as well as forecasts established by government authorities.  The indicators cover the resources devoted to research and development, patent families, and international trade in R&D-intensive industries.

Indicators on R&D expenditures, budgets, and personnel are derived from the OECD’s Research and Development Statistics database (RDS), which is based on the data reported to OECD and Eurostat in the framework of the joint OECD/Eurostat international data collection on resources devoted to R&D.

The sources for the other indicators include the OECD databases on Bilateral Trade in Goods by Industry and End-use category database (BTDIxE) and on Patents.

This database presents time series which end before the United Kingdom (UK)’s withdrawal from the European Union on 1 February 2020. The EU28 aggregate presented here therefore refers to the EU including the UK. In future publications, as soon as the time series presented extend to periods beyond the UK withdrawal, the “European Union” aggregate will change to reflect the new EU country composition. Interested readers may refer to the Eurostat website for further information on Eurostat’s plans for disseminating EU aggregates and to the Eurostat database for the actual series.


Accessing MSTI

The electronic edition is available via the OECD’s data dissemination service, “OECD.stat”From there, the MSTI Excel file can be downloaded by clicking “export” and then “related files”. The MSTI database is also available online through OECDiLibrary.

The OECD R&D and GBARD Sources and Methods Database contains metadata relating to series presented in MSTI and RDS.


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