Research hubs emerging South-East

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8 februari 2012 | 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 Europeand Japan face increasing competition from China, India and Brazilin terms of research output.

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

In their report “Knowledge, Networks, Nations” The Royal Societypoints towards advances in communications technology and cheapertravel as contributors to this trend. Furthermore, today’s researchquestions grew in scale making collaboration indispensable. Thiswould also lead to significant benefits as internationalization ofresearch efforts opens new markets and leads to increased citationsper article.

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

Measured by number of articles published, Japan, Western Europeand the U.S. continue to top off the Royal Society’s researchranking. Still, the authors note a rapid rise of China, India,Brazil and a number of emerging scientific nations in the MiddleEast, South-East Asia, North Africa and smaller Europeancountries.

This means that the scientific world is becoming increasinglymultipolar where research happens worldwide but concentrated incertain hubs all over the world. Notable up-and-comers are SaoPaulo, Nanjing and Shanghai – cities that all jumped at least 20places 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 SaoPaulo in South America.

Five recommendations

The report concludes with a number of recommendations:

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

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