Israel has just nudged ahead of South Korea as the world’s most research-intensive economy, according to figures released on 7 February by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Last year, the OECD reported that South Korea was opening up a clear lead — but its latest data, which reveal 2015 investments and make revisions to earlier years, suggest that the two countries are still neck and neck. In 2015, Israel invested 4.25% of its gross domestic product (GDP) in research and development (R&D), marginally more than South Korea, which dipped to 4.23%.
In both countries, industry accounts for much R&D spending. When it comes to the intensity given to “basic” research — which the OECD defines as work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge without any particular application in view — South Korea holds a clear lead, with 0.73% of its economy invested in the practice, a larger proportion …