Countries Who Spend the Most on Scientific Research

Countries are spending significant amounts of money on scientific research.
Countries are spending significant amounts of money on scientific research.

Scientific research is proving to be the driving force for the development of countries. Governments have realized its importance and have taken steps to ensure that they are not left behind. According to the World Economic Forum, Israel, South Korea, Japan, and Finland are the countries that spent the most on scientific reseach in 2013.

Countries Spending the Most on Scientific Research


The Middle Eastern nation leads the pack with spending of 4.21% of its national GDP on research, and this spending is projected to go up. The trend is attributed to a large measure on the policies of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is pro-business. The government of Israel has taken measures to ensure that scientific research is among its priorities. It has lowered taxes and provided security while increasing spending in the industry. As a result, multi-national companies that deal in technology and scientific research among others have built incubation centers of science and technology.

South Korea

Despite the lingering threat of war with its northern neighbor, the country has not faltered in its spending on scientific research. The spending takes 4.15% of its national GDP, and it is focused on making the economy tech-driven. South Korea is the home of Samsung, LG, and Hyundai, which are some of the biggest brands in the electronics and engineering world. Since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, the country has become an economic powerhouse of Asia and the world. It has been attributed to scientific research as well as the economic and political backing of the US.


Japan comes in third with spending of 3.49% of its gross domestic product on research. The emphasis of spending on research is to spur economic growth and foster innovation in technology. As a result, the government policy has encouraged collaborations between universities, also called the academia, and the industry players with a focus given to artificial intelligence, quantum physics, robotics, and defense. The country hopes to export its technology to other countries as it has done with the exports of Toshiba electronics and Toyota cars. The government hopes that the outcome of its spending on research and development would help the country cope with an aging population.


This European country has recently reorganized its research and development funding by pumping a lot of money thanks to new government policy. A new focus has been put on the development of technologies in sectors like IT, robotics, and other digital technologies. As a result, the government of Finland is spending 3.32% of its gross domestic product on the research and development industry after years of austerity policies that cut government spending on this sector and others. The hard economic times coupled with the austerity policies saw the country’s flagship product, Nokia, acquired by software giant, Microsoft for 5.5 billion euros in 2015.

Growth of the Research Industry

As the world is heading towards a technology run economy, most governments around the world will be increasing their efforts to ensure that they will not be left behind. The outcome of research efforts should be of good value to the lives of human beings around the world and promote peace and stability.

Countries Who Spend the Most on Scientific Research

RankCountryPercentage of GDP Spent on Science, 2013 (Source: WEF)

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