Landscape of R&D in the Arab Region Compared with the Rest of the World

  • Adnan BadranEmail author


Science policy in the Arab Region is in a state of turmoil, due to incompatibility, instability, and most importantly an absence of the political will to capitalize on R&D for development and self-reliance.

In 2009, the Arab Economic Summit in Kuwait (Badran 2017) proclaimed a resolution that priority of research in the Arab Region responding to local needs with global impact is the triangle of energy, water, and food security nexus.

Investment in research and in relevant quality higher education, responding to local needs, is a priority for building the knowledge economy based on human capital, knowledge created by basic research to stimulate innovation, and introduction of new technologies to overcome unemployment and poverty.

Delivery of problem-oriented research by universities, research centers and corporate entities is strongly linked to the development and creation of wealth.

Indicators show that UAE & Qatar are leading the Arab countries in the global competitiveness index (2016–2017). Academia – the environment or community concerned with the pursuit of research, education and scholarship - in universities, research institutes and multinational corporations provided the demographics survey of global research outputs.

In addition, the indicators show that investment in research is done mostly by governments in the Arab Region compared with OECD countries where research is done mostly by the private sector. The U.S. is still leading the world in investing in science by having a 2.8% of its GDP - $465 billion/year, and 50% of world Noble laureates in science and medicine.

In the Arab world, Morocco is leading the investment in research (0.73% of its GDP), followed by Tunisia, Egypt and UAE, while Tunisia is leading in the number of researchers (FTEs per million people) followed by Morocco and Egypt.

In the number of scientific peer-reviewed papers, the U.S. is leading the world, (21% of world), followed by China, Japan, Germany and UK, while in the Arab world, Egypt is leading followed by Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, UAE and Jordan.

Indexed publication (Scopus) intensity in the Middle East is led by Turkey, followed by Iran, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, UAE and Jordan, while the citation is led by Israel, Lebanon, Kuwait, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

As an indicator of technology in terms of the percentage of total exports, high technology exports in the Arab region are led by Tunisia followed by Morocco, Qatar and Kuwait, while Singapore is leading the world. Another indicator of technology is patents; China, United States and Japan are leading the world in patents filed (2014), while UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco are leading the Arab world in patents filed. However, for resident patents applications per $100 billion of GDP, S. Korea followed by Japan, China, and Finland are the world leaders (2015).


Research & Development (R&D) Global Competitiveness Higher Education Science in the Arab region Water Scarcity Water Research Climate Change Research in Energy Water and Food nexus Technology Innovations Jordan example 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nutrition, University of PetraAmmanJordan

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