Australia ranks well on R&D

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 27 November, 2017

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The Australian Government's budget for R&D has increased 9% from 2008 to 2016, but has slightly declined since a spike between 2008 and 2009, according to the OECD's Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2017 for Digital Transformation.

The report also shows that Australia is a leader among OECD countries in terms of using tax incentives to support business R&D.

The nation has the second-highest share of tax support among the 35 member countries of the OECD.

In terms of technology adoption, Australia has the third-highest rate of mobile penetration, with 128.8 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. The country also has an internet penetration of around 88%, which increases to 97.7% of 16- to 24-year-olds.

Between 2010 and 2016 Australia meanwhile experienced net employment gains of almost 1 million jobs. Just 20.7% of business sector jobs in Australia are sustained by foreign demand — the lowest percentage in the OECD apart from Japan and the US.

The country was also among only five OECD countries that experienced modest gains in labour productivity from 2007 to 2015.

According to the report, women in Australia accounted for 27.6% of tertiary graduates in natural science and engineering, close to the OECD average. While only 4.1% of tertiary graduates in ICT subjects in 2015 were women, this was above the OECD average of 3%.

Women also earn around 13% less than men after individual and job-related characteristics are controlled for, the report estimates. This falls to 11% when skills differences are also taken into account. Only 8.9% of patents filed from 2012–2015 were invented by women.

Finally, the report found that Australia is one of the most attractive destinations in the OECD for scientific authors, with the nation gaining nearly 7500 more scientific authors than it lost over the past 15 years. Australia meanwhile accounted for just over 3% of the world's top 10% of most cited scientific publications in 2016.

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