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OECD Biotechnology Statistics


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van Beuzekom, B and Arundel, A (2009) OECD Biotechnology Statistics. Project Report. OECD, Paris, France.

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The OECD Biotechnology Statistics – 2009 edition brings together the latest available economic and activity data on biotechnology and innovation, collected by OECD member and non-member countries. The report builds on the extensive work of the OECD and national experts to improve the comparability of biotechnology statistics. The results should provide a valuable source of information on biotechnology for policy makers, academics and business managers. The 2009 edition contains government survey data for 22 OECD countries and additional data for four nonmember countries. The survey data provide results on the number of biotechnology firms, business expenditures on R&D, biotechnology employment, and sales of biotechnology goods and services. Unfortunately, very few or no survey results are available in this edition for four OECD countries that are leaders in biotechnology: Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. However, some data are available for these countries from nonsurvey data sources for biotechnology patents, venture capital, alliances, GM crops, biofuels, and biopharmaceuticals. Results for biofuels and biopharmaceuticals are provided for the first time in this edition.1 This is the fourth collection of OECD biotechnology indicators. The previous version, published in 2006,2 provided data for 23 OECD and 3 non-member countries. The results for OECD member states were obtained from government survey data for 16 OECD countries and from a private consulting firm for six OECD countries. Developing internationally comparable biotechnology statistics has been a challenge for many years, largely due to different survey definitions of biotechnology and of a biotechnology firm. Unlike ICT or other technologies, there is no single biotechnology ‘sector’ that can be quickly identified and surveyed. The 2009 edition of OECD biotechnology indicators has benefited from the on-going efforts of the OECD and of national experts to develop and use a harmonized definition of biotechnology and guidelines for the collection of biotechnology statistics.3 However, a few countries continue to use slightly different definitions of biotechnology. For 2009, comparability in the definition of a biotechnology firm and classification boundaries for firm size and biotechnology applications have also improved. However, there are still a few challenges for developing full comparability. The main issue is national differences in the method of surveying biotechnology firms. Fourteen countries collected data on biotechnology firms through an official R&D survey, while 12 countries used a dedicated survey of firms that are known to be active in biotechnology. The results are not fully comparable because an R&D survey will not capture firms that are active in biotechnology but do not perform R&D, while dedicated surveys could miss the biotechnology R&D of large diversified firms where biotechnology is only a small part of their business. Ideally, countries would use both survey methods.

Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Publisher: OECD
Additional Information: © OECD 2009
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2010 04:08
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:12
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