SEOUL, Dec. 9 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea invested almost 90 trillion won (US$83 billion) in research and development (R&D) last year, making it the fifth-largest spender among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the ICT ministry said Wednesday.
The South Korean government and the private sector’s total R&D spending in 2019 amounted to 89.05 trillion won, up 3.9 percent from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.
The total R&D spending translates to 4.64 percent of South Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year.
The ministry said the latest figures place South Korea as the fifth-largest R&D spender and second in terms of R&D spending to GDP ratio among OECD countries, although figures for other countries are based on results from 2018.
The United States was the largest R&D spender that year at a total of $581.6 billion.
The ministry said South Korea’s private sector spent 68.5 trillion won in R&D last year, accounting for 76.9 percent of the total, while public R&D spending amounted to 19.1 trillion won or 21.4 percent of the total.
Companies’ R&D spending in manufacturing amounted to 62.6 trillion won in 2019, up 2.3 percent from the previous year, while R&D in the service sector rose 21.6 percent to 7.6 trillion won over the same period.
The number of researchers in the country also increased 4.7 percent to 538,136 in 2019.
Female researchers took up 21 percent of the total last year, lower than other major countries.
The ministry said the United Kingdom’s share of female researchers stood at 38.6 percent in 2018 and Germany at 27.9 percent in 2017.