Global Observatory on Health R&D

One year on, Global Observatory on Health R&D identifies striking gaps and inequalities

A woman and a man are talking in front of a board pinned with diagrams, charts and informative papers.

In Singapore there are an estimated 1140 health research workers per million inhabitants, compared to just 0.2 in Zimbabwe. This is just one of the striking gaps and inequalities in investment identified by the Global Observatory on Health Research and Development.

The WHO Global Observatory on Health R&D (hereafter called 'The Observatory') is a centralized and comprehensive source of information and analyses on global health R&D activities for human diseases.

It builds on existing data and reports from a wide range of data sources, and gathers new information (where needed and feasible) with the aim of enabling decisions on priorities in R&D.

Call for paper still open

In 2015, WHO announced a call for papers for a peer-reviewed journal series entitled 'Informing the Establishment of the WHO Global Observatory on Health Research and Development'. Ten papers were published in Health Research Policy and Systems during 2015 to 2017. Additional papers will continue to be published in 2018. The Call is still open, and new contributions are welcome.

fact buffet

Health researchers

37 times more health researchers in high-income countries than in low-income countries

Health researchers per million inhabitants, by income group


+4%in R&D investments for neglected diseases from 2015 to 2016

R&D funding flows for neglected diseases

Products in the pipeline

436new products in the pipeline (as of Jan 2018) for 23 infectious diseases

Health products in the pipeline for infectious diseases

Featured news

View new data visualizations

The Observatory has recently added and updated interactive visualizations on research grants/funding, vaccine trials, clinical development pipelines targeting antibacterial agents, infectious diseases, R&D funding for neglected diseases, domestic expenditures on health R&D, national health researcher capacity and many others (see visualizations index). Visualizations will be useful to governments, policy-makers, funders and researchers interested in R&D for health. Each visualization has a wealth of information. Users can set limits within each visualization, allowing further, customized, data exploration. Each visualization is also accompanied by explanatory notes and suggestions for how to explore the data.

Visualizations index

Contact us:

Research, Ethics and Knowledge Uptake
Department of Information, Evidence and Research
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27