A report released last week by the European Commission offers the latest snapshot of scientific training and employment in the EU-27 countries in comparison to global trends. Below are some of the key findings.
First, the 2008 Science, Technology, and Competitiveness key figures report found that the number of researchers has grown twice as fast in the EU-27 as in the United States or Japan. Yet in 2006, Europe ranked second in total numbers, counting 1.33 million researchers compared to 1.39 and 1.22 million in the U.S.A. and China, respectively.
The report largely attributed the growth in the number of researchers in Europe to greater employment in the private sector. But with about half its researchers employed in companies, the EU-27 business sector still employed proportionately fewer researchers than the United States (79%) or Japan (68%).
Another interesting trend is the increase of the number of doctoral researchers trained in the EU-27 by 4.8% annually, compared to 4.6% in Japan and 3.3% in the United States. In real numbers, the EU27 ranked first with around 100,000 new doctoral degrees awarded, compared to 53,000 in the United States and 15,000 in Japan in 2005.
The 169-page report looks at all aspects of European research, from trends in R&D investment and patenting to international collaborations. The full version may be found here.
For a summary of the funding trends see Daniel Clery's coverage in this week's Science (subscription required).