Report Shows Global Disparities in Where Researchers Work

The number of researchers has risen by 21% to 7.8 million since 2007 with a corresponding explosion in scientific publications, according to the newly-released UNESCO Science Report: Towards 2030. But 72% of the world’s researchers can still be found in the European Union, China, Russia, the United States and Japan

The European Union remained world leader with a 22.2% share of researchers, but since 2011 China (19.1%) has overtaken the US (16.7%), as predicted in the UNESCO Science Report 2010

Japan's world share shrunk to 8.5% in 2013 – it was 10.7% in 2007 – and Russia's share to 5.7% (from 7.3%).

Significantly, high-income countries ceded ground to the upper middle-income countries – including China, which grew 2.5% between 2009 and 2013 – with the report reflecting that once countries boosted their investment in research personnel and publicly funded research, business also raised its research and development, or R&D, investments.

"Public and privately funded research have different aims, but their contribution to growth depends on how well they complement one another... the relationship becomes powerful above a certain threshold in researcher density and publicly funded R&D intensity," the report said.