Get Ready for China’s Domination of Science

New Scientist writes about China’s recent gains in the scientific fields:

Very quietly, China has become the world’s second-largest producer of scientific knowledge, surpassed only by the US, a status it has achieved at an awe-inspiring rate. If it continues on its current trajectory China will overtake the US before 2020 and the world will look very different as a result. The historical scientific dominance of North America and Europe will have to adjust to a new world order.

In the west, we are largely familiar with research systems in which money, people and output stay roughly the same from year to year. Research spending in Europe and North America has outpaced economic growth since 1945, but not by a dramatic amount.

Not so with China. Data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that between 1995 and 2006, China’s gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) grew at an annual rate of 18 per cent. China now ranks third on GERD, just behind the US and Japan and ahead of any individual European Union state.

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