OECD Urges China to Innovate

Chemistry World writes about a report put out last month by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) about the state of China’s innovation economy:

China’s R&D intensity – the ratio of gross R&D expenditure to gross domestic product (GDP) – has ‘increased spectacularly’ in recent years, according to the OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy: China, published in September. In 2007, China spent 1.49 per cent of GDP on R&D (366.4 billion yuan or US$53.9 billion), compared with a research intensity of 0.6 per cent in 1995, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

China has a strong publication record but lags behind countries such as Germany in its ability to introduce innovative new products and processes to the market, co-author Gang Zhang of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry told Chemistry World. The focus is on development rather than basic research, which only attracted about 5 per cent of R&D funding in 2006, compared with 10-20 per cent in OECD countries, the report notes.

The report’s authors found that China’s ‘national innovation system’ is not fully integrated so that it has a large number of ‘innovative islands,’ such as science parks, that don’t link together. They suggest that China should ‘improve synergies between hotspots of innovation activities’ and promote more market-based innovative clusters and networks.

Read the Executive Summary of the OECD report.


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