US No Longer Miles Ahead in Research and Development Rankings

July 20, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
US No Longer Miles Ahead in Research and Development Rankings
President Joe Biden visits NIH to meet with leading researchers at the Vaccine Research Center regarding research that enabled the development of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Courtesy of NIH/Chiachi Chang Flickr

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is no longer at the top in all areas of research and development, according to speakers from a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation event on Tuesday to examine how America can maintain its competitiveness.

“It is number one or number two in different areas … but we have competition,” said France Córdova, president of the Science Philanthropy Alliance and former director of the National Science Foundation, during the event.

“We have to really think carefully about our investment in research and development in order to be the leader among nations in addressing things like pandemics, climate change, and any number of global challenges that we have,” said Córdova.

According to Córdova, the U.S. has lost its top ranking as R&D leader as other countries have stepped up efforts over the past decade to invest in R&D.



“Other nations are also really stepping up their investment in R&D. The growth and development of China is arguably our largest R&D challenge,” continued Córdova.

Córdova said for the last decade or more the investment in research and development in China increased by 14% a year on average.

Bruce Guile, project lead for Global Innovation and National Interests BRG Institute, Inc., attended the event and said that the R&D in the public and private sector of the U.S. is less than 30% of the global total, which he said is down from almost 70% since the early 70s.


“The rest of the world had doubled and gotten better [at R&D]. They’ve gotten better at innovation, so we’re no longer…miles ahead of the competition, looking back over our shoulder only once in a while. We are literally footsteps ahead of other countries who are investing in just as much, and much more strategically than the U.S. has in the past,” said Guile. 

Alexa can be reached at [email protected] 

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