Enlarge (credit: Oak Ridge National Lab)
By law, the National Science Foundation is required to do a biennial evaluation of the state of science research and innovation.

This is one of the years it’s due, and the NSF has gotten its Science and Engineering Indicators report ready for delivery to Congress and the president.

The report is generally optimistic, finding significant funding for science and a strong return on that investment in terms of jobs and industries.

But it does highlight how the global focus is shifting, with China and South Korea making massive investments in research and technology.
Science isn’t a monolithic endeavor, so there’s no way to create a single measure that captures global scientific progress.
Instead, the NSF looked at 42 different indicators that track things like research funding, business investments, training of scientists, and more.

All of these measures were evaluated for the globe, in order to put the US’ scientific activity in perspective.
Show me the money
Overall, science funding is on a good trajectory.
In 2005, global RD spending was just under a trillion dollars; by 2015, it had cleared $2 trillion.
In total, 75 percent of that is spent in 10 nations; in order of spending, these are the United States, China, Japan, Germany, South Korea, France, India, and the United Kingdom.

The US alone spends about $500 billion.

China, which was at roughly $100 billion a decade ago, has now cleared $400 billion.
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