Research and development underpin nearly all the transformative changes we see on Our World in Data.
Cures for diseases, vaccines, and techniques to prevent infection have helped us survive beyond childhood and live much longer lives. Understanding hygiene, water, and sanitation have saved countless lives from preventable diseases.
Electricity, artificial light, transport, and other energy technologies have transformed our lives. Agricultural research has broken deadlocks in crop yields and allowed us to produce enough food for eight billion people.
Even beyond the long list of technological advances, research into effective political and economic systems, human rights, and social sciences have reshaped societies worldwide.
More research is needed to address our largest problems – old and new. We will need innovations in clean energy to tackle climate change, in agriculture to feed a growing population, and developments in medical research to tackle existing and prevent new diseases. Research is vital to address emerging and ongoing risks such as artificial intelligence and nuclear weapons.
You can find all of our data, visualizations, and writing on research, development, and innovation on this page.
The world needs ideas and innovation to make progress against the many problems we face. But opportunities are limited to only a small number of well-off children.
To transition towards low-carbon energy systems we need low-cost energy storage. Battery costs have been falling quickly.
More key articles on Research and Development