There are multiple measures of researchers per million inhabitants in the UK. One is provided on a full-time equivalency basis by the World Bank and follows the UN specification for this indicator. This is displayed here as the headline data.

Another measure is calculated using the Labour Force Survey by the Office for National Statistics using a headcount of both full-time and part-time workers. The headcount figures are valuable, despite not following the UN specification, as they allow us to disaggregate by some of the Leave No-one Behind characteristics, for example, migratory and disability status.

You can switch between the two options below by using Units toggle on the left hand side. Please note, disaggregations are only available when the headcount option is selected.


Choose categories from the dropdowns below to see different breakdowns of the data. Some will not be available until a higher level is chosen.

Download Headline CSV Download Source CSV

Headline data

Source: Office for National Statistics

Geographical Area: United Kingdom

Unit of Measurement: Number per 1,000,000

Footnote: Headcount figures are of all full-time and part time employees whose self-reported main job is in research.

This table provides metadata for the actual indicator available from UK statistics closest to the corresponding global SDG indicator. Please note that even when the global SDG indicator is fully available from UK statistics, this table should be consulted for information on national methodology and other UK-specific metadata information.

Indicator available
Indicator description
Geographical coverage

United Kingdom

Unit of measurement

Number per 1,000,000


Disability Status - The (GSS) harmonised "core" definition identifies a person as disabled if they have a physical or mental health condition or illness that has lasted or is expected to last 12 months or more. It must reduce their ability to carry-out day-to-day activities. It is important to note that a person who has a long-term illness that does not reduce their ability to carry-out day-to-day activities is not disabled under the definition. The GSS harmonised questions are asked of the respondent in the survey, meaning that disability status is self-reported. The GSS definition is designed to reflect the definitions that appear in legal terms in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) for Northern Ireland and the 2010 Equality Act for Great Britain.

Available disaggregations
Other information

Full-time equivalent (FTE) figures come from the World Bank database. Headcount values are calculated from the Office for National Statistics' Labour Force Survey.

The Washington Group on Disability Statistics are often used to provide a cross-nationally comparable population- based measures of disability. Please see the article Measuring disability - comparing approaches for a comparison between the GSS Harmonised measure (used here) and the Washington Group measure.

Data follows the UN specification for this indicator. This indicator has been identified in collaboration with topic experts.

Data last updated 23 July 2021
Metadata last updated 23 July 2021

This table provides information on metadata for SDG indicators as defined by the UN Statistical Commission. Complete global metadata is provided by the UN Statistics Division.

Indicator name

Researchers (in full-time equivalent) per million inhabitants

Target name

Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending

Global indicator description
UN designated tier

Tier I

UN custodian agency

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Link to UN metadata United Nations Sustainable Development Goals metadata for target 9.5 opens in a new window

Source 1


Office for National Statistics



Earliest available data


Geographical coverage

United Kingdom

Link to data source Number of researchers in the UK - 2012 to 2017 opens in a new window
Release date 04 April 2019
Next release


Statistical classification

Official Statistic

Contact details

Other information

Figures are a headcount of all full-time and part time employees whose self-reported main job is in research. Full list of jobs available from the source.

Source 2


World Bank



Earliest available data


Geographical coverage


Link to data source Researchers in R&D (per million people) opens in a new window
Release date NA
Next release


Statistical classification

Non official

Contact details
Other information