Institute claims that low R&D investment hinders the economy
As domestic expenditure on research and development flattened over the years, it might have wielded an adverse impact on the nation’s innovative drive and in turn hurt the economy, according to Dr. Anders Karlsson of Elsevier, a global digital information solution provider.
In a press conference held yesterday, Karlsson compared Taiwan’s academia and R&D investments with other major economies of the world.
Taiwan’s expenditure on R&D stayed in the US$20,000 range between 2005 and 2011, while China’s expenditure spiked from US$70,000 to more than US$180,000 during the same period.
The number of full-time researchers in Taiwan also stayed leveled. It was pegged at the 100,000 range, while in China, the number grew from 750,000 to 1.3 million.
A similar reality was observed in journal publications, an important factor in global university ranking. According to Elsevier’s database, the scholar output in Taiwan has kept at the 25,000 level, while the number in mainland China jumped from 112,5000 to 437,500 in the past decade.
Comparison with Other Asian
Taiwan’s numbers pale when compared with mainland China. To get a better perspective, it may serve to put Taiwan’s figures beside those of other Asian countries.
In the 2014 Global R&D Forecast prepared by nonprofit research institute Battelle, scientists and engineers per million people in Taiwan registered at some 4,500, while in Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, the number hovered around 5,000, 5,500 and 6,100, respectively.
With regards to R& D as a percentage of national GDP, Taiwan’s figure of 2.3 also lagged behind the three Asian countries. Japan, South Korea, and Singapore’s figures stand at close
to 3.4, 3.7 and 2.7, respectively.
Taiwan’s Higher Quality
Although Taiwan’s quantity of journal publications did not stand out, the quality of publications says a different story. Elsevier measures quality based on how many publications are done through top journals such as Nature and Science.
About 27 percent of the National Taiwan University’s publications were released in top journals last year. The share ranked third among well-known universities in Asia, beating China’s Tsinghua University and Peking University. The proportions in the two Chinese schools have been picking up fast since 2004, however.
The top two spots in the publication quality category were taken by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the National University of Singapore, whose shares registered at 42 percent and 32 percent, respectively.