A recent study points out the fast growth of Chinese research and its cooperation with EU and US, analyzing specific fields over an 11-years period.
During its first “First Stakeholders Workshop”, the think tank Science Technology and Innovation performance of China (STI China) discussed the intermediate results of its latest study, which started in 2013 and will finish in the following months. One of the most interesting points of view is certainly the evolution of China’s research capacity, assessed by analyzing key scientific fields over an 11-year span; moreover, the study also focuses on the role played by EU/US partnerships with China in research and publications, judging their worldwide impact.
The first part of the study is a comparison between China and EU on different fields: while China’s number of new S&T graduates is almost three times bigger than EU’s one (1.4 m vs 550 000), the percentage of population who has completed tertiary education is only 15.2 % (against 33 % of EU). On a purely numerical basis, the amount of Chinese investments in R&D (both from public and private actors) is much lower than the European one (for example, public investments totaled 822 588 millions of euro against 334 403 millions in China), however the related percentage of GDP is almost identical, with differences ranging from 0.1 to 1 %. Over the 2000-2011 period, China has been the country with the largest growth in research, increasing its share of the world’s total from 4 to 15 %: a rise reflected in the subsequent fall of EU and US shares (which still make up 50 % of the total, however).
The study moves on to the analysis of specific research fields, trying to assess both China’s traditionally strongest areas and the fastest growing ones. Over the same 11-years span, China maintained its strength in sectors like Engineering, Physics, Astronomy and Chemistry: however, new fields (like Immunology and Microbiology, Environmental Science and Agricultural Sciences) registered a blitzing growth, reaching a 28% growth per year in some cases. On the other hand, China’s greatest fields mentioned above kept growing, albeit at a much slower rate. Finally, a report on scientific publications is provided, showing how EU and China focused mainly in medical research, cooperating in 5363 different journals (30 of which ended up in the top 2% of all publications of the field); on the other hand, over the years the EU decreased its partnerships’ share with China, which chose to strengthen its cooperation with US researchers in every field: the resulting papers obtained a much higher impact than the average of collaborative work between China and all foreign countries, with the exception of Physics and Astronomy (where EU cooperation still reach a strong impact on the scientific community).
In conclusion, data underline the growing role of China’s research in key fields, like Engineering and Physics, a pattern that does not follow the global trend, dominated by Medicine. However, China’s weight in non-scientific areas, like Arts or Psychology, is still very small and any related improvement would require major investments.
The gLAWcal Team
Friday, 21 February 2014
(Source: STI China)