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China is Closing Gap with U.S. on Research Spending

By Nature

January 23, 2020

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The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) estimated that China's research and development (R&D) funding is rapidly catching up to that of the U.S.

U.S. R&D spending increased at an annual average of 4.3% from 2000 to 2017, while spending in China rose more than 17% a year, according to the NSF.

The U.S. comprised 25%, and China 23%, of the $2.2 trillion spent on R&D worldwide in 2017, the NSF report said.

The emergence of other innovation powerhouses “can only be good," said Diane Souvaine, a computer scientist at Tufts University, adding, “New knowledge benefits everyone.”

The NSF report also found that U.S. laboratories have become more diverse, with the participation of women and members of under-represented minorities in the science and engineering workforce generally increasing since 2003.

However, since the total science and engineering workforce has increased significantly over this period, the proportion of women in some disciplines, such as computer sciences, has stagnated or even decreased slightly.

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