By a wide margin, the US maintains its place at the front of the line when it comes to spending on R&D, as well as its perceived leadership in different areas of research, including healthcare, energy generation and aerospace, the 2011 Global R&D Funding Forecast by Battelle Memorial Institute, found. Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, is a charitable trust dedicated to scientific, educational, technology and community endeavors.
Still, this isn't the time to get cocky. A number of other countries have significantly increased their R&D spending and are gaining ground. China, for instance, boosted its R&D outlays by about 10 percent annually over the past few years. It now accounts for 12.9 percent of global R&D spending, having inched ahead of Japan, which is expected to record 12.1 percent of R&D expenditures this year. Europe's share has slipped from 24.1 percent in 2009 to a forecasted 23.2 percent in 2011.