Global Observatory on Health R&D

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.

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.

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

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

Health researchers per million inhabitants, by income group


+7%in R&D investments for neglected diseases from 2016 to 2017

R&D funding flows for neglected diseases

Products in the pipeline

<0.5%of products (as of July 2019) are for WHO neglected tropical diseases

Health products in the pipeline for all diseases

Featured news

WHO’s Science Division launches new Health Product Profile Directory

The Health Product Profile Directory is an online resource developed by TDR on behalf of WHO as a global public good. It provides a searchable database that outlines the 8-10 key characteristics used to describe desired health products, including medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and medical equipment. Links are provided to access the full document where this is publicly available. The Directory includes profiles developed by WHO and other entities and can also be accessed through the Observatory, where other key resources in this area can be found.

Visualizations index

Contact us:

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