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  • Research hubs emerging South-East

    - Boston, Berlin, Tokyo or Sao Paulo, Nanjing, Shanghai – where are the major research hubs in the world? A report by the British Royal Society how the scientific world becomes increasingly multipolar. Worldwide, there are around 7 million researchers working with a total budget of $1 trillion.

    The Royal Society compiled a report showing that the U.S., Western Europe and Japan face increasing competition from China, India and Brazil in terms of research output.

    Currently there is an estimated 7 million researchers working on a total budget of $1 trillion (€754 billion) publishing 25.000 separate articles every year. The funds available for research have grown by 45% compared to 2002 and also international collaboration expanded significantly: 35% of all articles published in international journals are outcome of cross-border cooperation, up from 35% 15 years ago.

    In their report "Knowledge, Networks, Nations" The Royal Society points towards advances in communications technology and cheaper travel as contributors to this trend. Furthermore, today's research questions grew in scale making collaboration indispensable. This would also lead to significant benefits as internationalization of research efforts opens new markets and leads to increased citations per article.

    Up-and-comers: Sao Paulo, Nanjing, Shanghai

    Measured by number of articles published, Japan, Western Europe and the U.S. continue to top off the Royal Society's research ranking. Still, the authors note a rapid rise of China, India, Brazil and a number of emerging scientific nations in the Middle East, South-East Asia, North Africa and smaller European countries.

    This means that the scientific world is becoming increasingly multipolar where research happens worldwide but concentrated in certain hubs all over the world. Notable up-and-comers are Sao Paulo, Nanjing and Shanghai - cities that all jumped at least 20 places comparing the rankings of 1996/2000 and 2004/2008.

    The top 20 research hubs consist of Berlin, Moscow, London, Paris, Madrid, Rome in Europe; Toronto, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Los Angeles in North America; Nanjing, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo in Asia and Sao Paulo in South America.

    Five recommendations

    The report concludes with a number of recommendations:

    1. Support for international science should be maintained and strengthened
    2. Internationally collaborative science should be encouraged, supported and facilitated
    3. National and international strategies for science are required to address global challenges
    4. International capacity building is crucial to ensure that the impacts of scientific research are shared globally
    5. Better indicators are required in order to properly evaluate global science