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China leads in FTE R&D personnel since 2013

By Yang Yang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-10-08 16:11

Scientists conduct research in a lab in Tianjin, on Sept 28, 2021. [Photo/IC]

China's full-time equivalent R&D personnel has consistently ranked first in the world since 2013, Chinese financial media outlet Yicai reported on Thursday.

The total number of R&D personnel in China reached 7.13 million in 2019, 1.3 times that of 2015, bringing the number of R&D personnel to a new high according to the report, which cited the China Science and Technology Talent Development Report 2020 by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

South China's Guangdong province had the most R&D personnel in China in 2019, followed by East China's Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

China's capital city Beijing and financial center Shanghai have more high-level R&D talents, with R&D researchers accounting for 66.2 and 58.4 percent of full-time equivalent R&D personnel, respectively.

Since 2015, the number of R&D personnel in industrial firms with annual business turnover of at least 20 million yuan($3.1 million), research and development institutions and institutions of higher education has increased by 4.55, 2.57, and 12.35 percent, respectively.

R&D personnel refers to those engaged in basic research, applied research and experimental development and the percentage of China's R&D personnel in these three areas were 8.17, 12.82 and 79.02 percent in 2019, the report said.

The full-time equivalent of R&D personnel is defined as the ratio of working hours actually spent on R&D during a specific reference period divided by the total number of hours conventionally worked in the same period by an individual or by a group, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

As a key factor in scientific and technological innovation, talent is essential to an innovation-driven economy. The scale and distribution of China's R&D personnel reflect the country's strong momentum for scientific and technological innovation.

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