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van Beuzekom, B and Arundel, A 2009 , OECD Biotechnology Statistics.

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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)
Authors/Creators:van Beuzekom, B and Arundel, A
Publisher: OECD
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© OECD 2009

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