Studying a science degree has never been more exciting than in the present day, with the advancement of technology and breakthrough of discoveries each day to learn about both the way the planet works and those that live on it.

Degrees in science vary from Biochemistry, Social Psychology, Environmental Science and Microbiology, meaning that students are spoilt for choice in choosing the right degree and the right destination.

With many factors to consider when becoming a science undergraduate, those in the science sector, in particular, are increasingly needing to rely on opportunities in their surroundings. 

One key consideration students should explore before starting applications is what the hands-on experience a university and its surrounding organisation’s can offer. Especially within the science industry as lab experience provides students with the tools and conventions of sciences to succeed.

As the competitive graduate recruitment market increases year on year, hands-on experience is becoming ever more favourable for employers. A report reveals that just over half of Biological sciences graduates are in full-time employment 4 months post-university.

RS Components have analysed countries across the world by four different metrics to find out the best locations to study science and also to pursue a career in the industry:

  1. number of patents,
  2. number of scientific research papers released,
  3. percentage of GDP spend on research and
  4. development, and number of researchers per 1,000 people.

Each country was then allocated a score based on their figures for each metric with their overall score determining their final rank within the index to reveal the most scientific capitals.

In terms of overall score, the index revealed that the USA was the leading science capital of the world with an overall score out of 100 of 75.07, and Israel, South Korea, Japan and Sweden joining the top five. Romania, South Africa, Mexico, and Chile are amongst the lowest scoring on the Science Capitals index.

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European countries appear to dominate the top 20 scientific capitals, despite Sweden being the only European country in the top five. The United Kingdom ranks in at a very respectable 15th place, between Norway and Singapore.

When looking at the metrics individually, Israel ranks in first place as the top country for R&D spending, and for number of researchers per 1,000. Israel has 17 scientific researchers per 1,000 of the employed population, as well as dedicating 4.25% of it’s GDP to R&D spending. Israel also makes the top ten countries for number of scientific patents, with 3,804.  

The United States tops both the top ten countries for number of research papers, as well as the top ten countries for number of patents. The US has a staggering 26,855 research papers, almost double the 14,234 research papers of second place China. The US also dedicates approximately 2.75% of its GDP to R&D spending, and around 9 scientific researchers per 1,000 employed.

Global ‘leaders’ China and the UK are ranked surprisingly low on the index - in 20th and 15th place respectively. Previous reports have deemed China as the country set to become a global science leader by 2025, as a result of its huge population and increase in students studying STEM and consequent rising number of Chinese scientists and engineers. However, the analysis revealed that despite this, the country only has 2 scientific researchers per 1,000 employed, ranking as one of the lowest countries for this metric.

A spokesperson from RS Components comments:

'Science is continuing to adapt and progress globally, with no denying the groundbreaking solutions it has created and continues to make to help combat a breadth of issues, from epidemic diseases to the everyday cold.

The United States of America comes out as a clear winner for its scientific discovery, with 9 in 1,000 people working in some form of scientific progress.

What we found particularly interesting was the United Kingdom’s ranking in 15th place throughout the world for scientific discovering - showing that as much as we, a nation, have a considerably high amount of researchers, we lack the number of patents that are registered.

Science is constantly adapting and aiming to help cure and combat diseases worldwide and it is clear to see that as a human race we prioritise its success and funding.’

Location is key when it comes to studying for a degree in science and pursuing a career once you have your undergraduate certificate. With the industry requiring more and more experience from its students and young graduates, it is important that countries are investing the time and money into building up their scientific repetoire to encourage and entice our future scientists to study there and build a better future.

Is your university located in a science capital of the world? Use the interactive tool to see how your each country stacks up against the rest.

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