Western knowledge gap widens

Investment in research and development is rapidly shifting from North America and Europe to Asia.

Researchers at Sheffield University and Aston Business School have found investment in Research and Development (R&D) is rapidly shifting from North America and Europe to Asia, resulting in a small elite club of regions, in both the advanced and developing world, that are dominating the global knowledge economy.

In the new findings published today, the researchers found that, of the $50bn invested by multinational companies in R&D projects around the world between 2002 and 2005, Asian economies received 58 per cent of this investment, with Europe receiving 22 per cent and North America 14 per cent.

The majority of the investment in Asia is concentrated in a very small number of locations such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai in India and Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai in China.

While Asia was the dominant destination of R&D investment, North America was the primary source, accounting for 50 per cent of R&D investment, followed by Europe with 28 per cent.

This resulted in North America having net R&D investment deficit of $18bn and Europe a deficit of $3bn.