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Investing in RDI in crisis times?

We are currently living in a society where there are high unemployment rates, where people commit suicide because they can hardly survive.  The question is: do we really want to invest in Research Development and Innovation (RDI)?

Where would you invest 500M Euros in the current economic climate? Would you invest that money in a hospital or in a European plan for renewable energy?

RDI is a very slow process and requires a constant investment for decades before you see a return. For example let’s compare a country which hasn’t invested in innovation and another one which has. Greece has invested less than 1.2% and it’s hardly dependent on the state of the economy, on the other hand countries like Sweden invested more than a 3%.

According to a report published last December by the CCO (Círculo Cívico de Opinión), if a country which hasn’t invested in RDI had invested the same percentage that the OECD countries did, it would have a 20% higher income per capita and would not have suffered the economic crisis as badly.

If you have a look at this graph, you can see that the countries which have invested more in innovation are the countries that have had a less economic impact of the crisis.

RDIGDP

Keeping investments in science and innovation is problematic due to the long term return of the investments; however political decisions are taking into account the short term benefits in order to achieve more votes. Politicians know that it is more profitable for them to invest 500 million Euros in a hospital instead of RDI.

With the current economic crisis, it’s the perfect time to change the situation, it’s the perfect time to begin to invest more in science and make companies, universities and administrations take science more seriously.

Investing in RDI is a guarantee that when the next economic crisis hits, we wouldn’t be dependent of only one industry. This is what has happened in countries like Italy, Spain or Greece.

But I am going further, Science shouldn’t be understood as an investment which looks for profitability, if it only looks for economic benefits, vaccines for uncommon disease in Africa will never be discovered because its unprofitability. Science doesn’t look for profitability, but to contribute to people’s lives.

 

Sources| Informe CCO.

Image| R&D and GDP

In QAH| ¿Hay que invertir en I+D+i en época de crisis?

Author Spotlight

Daniel Jurado Ruiz

Dani Jurado

Currently working as senior auditor for a Big Four Company in Belfast, UK, previously worked in an import and export company in Shanghai, China.

BBA at ETEA Business School (Córdoba, Spain) and having studied at The University of Birmingham (UK: BBA & EBBS), and at Kyungsung University Read Full

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