How Can We Measure SDG Progress on Science, Technology and Innovation?

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics

The UN Statistical Commission is meeting in New York this week (6-9 March) to discuss a range of data related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). While the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is clearly recognized as the official data source for SDG 4 on education, the Commission will also be reviewing the role of the UIS in helping to monitor progress towards SDG 9 on innovation.

As part of Target 9.5 countries have pledged to: enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending.

To monitor progress towards this target, the UIS is producing two global indicators related to research and development (R&D): R&D expenditure as a proportion of GDP, and researchers per million population. At the same time, the Institute is developing a thematic set of indicators on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), given their vital role in reaching each and every SDG.  Continue reading

Shortening the Journey from Information to Understanding: The New UIS Website Goes Live

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics

This blog was originally published on the World Education Blog

The new UIS website, launched today, offers compelling, innovative ways to find – and use – the best available information on what is happening in education, science, culture and communication worldwide. The new site represents a radical shift in the way we present our data. Rather than sending our visitors to complex databases, the new site zeroes in on the kind of information that people want in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals, packaged in the way that is most useful for them. Continue reading

How Much Does Your Country Invest in Research and Development (R&D)?

Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, and Damien Chalaud, Executive Director of the World Federation of Science Journalists

As the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) gathers momentum, there has been a lot of noise about the ‘big ticket’ factors seen as fundamental for their achievement: immediate and sustained action, political will, adequate resources, equity … the list goes on. And it’s true. We need all of these and more. But there has been less clamour about the role of innovation, even though this will fuel progress on each and every SDG. And there has been barely a whisper about its foundation: research and development (R&D).

This matters: investment in R&D is one of the main drivers of investment in the new knowledge, technology and thinking that drives innovation at country level. So, if governments want to know how well they are doing on innovation, they really need to know how well they are doing on R&D. Continue reading