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South Korean R&D spend takes it near top of the world

South Korean spending on R&D as a percentage of gross domestic product was the third highest in the world last year, the National Science and Technology Commission announced on 13 September.

According to commission figures, public and private R&D investments amounted to 43.85 trillion won ($38 billion) in 2010, up 15.6 per cent from the previous year.

South Korea spent 3.74 per cent of its GDP on R&D in 2010, up 0.18 percentage points on 2009, the figures show.

This placed South Korea third among OECD member countries, behind Israel (4.25 per cent) and Finland (3.84 per cent).

South Korea’s private sector contributed 72 per cent of total R&D expenditure last year, spending in excess of 32 trillion won. A government statement said this was a higher percentage than in Germany, UK or the US.

The number of researchers in South Korea last year stood at 345,000, up seven per cent from 2009.