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China ‘to surpass US’ in R&D spend by 2020

A report from the OECD predicts China will overtake the United States as the world’s leading R&D spender before 2020.

The organization’s biennial Science, Technology and Industry Outlook, released on 12 November, also reveals the declining share of global R&D spending by traditional leaders such as the US, Japan and the European Union.

Despite the data, the report’s authors and others say spending is not necessarily a measure of clout in innovation. “The quality of Chinese science is still behind the world average, which is reflected by citation indicators and the share of PhDs among researchers,” Dominique Guellec, an economist who helped write the report, told Nature.

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