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.

Articles collection to inform the establishment of the Observatory

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'. This resulted in the selection of eleven papers that were published in Health Research Policy and Systems between 2015-18.

fact buffet

Health researchers

73 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

Coronavirus R&D

As part of WHO’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the R&D Blueprint has been activated to accelerate diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for this novel coronavirus. Learn more about coronavirus COVID-19 R&D activities and priorities.
See also a list of clinical trials on COVID-19 collected through the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform ( ICTRP), and the WHO database of publications on COVID-2019.

Visualizations index

Contact us:

Emerging technologies, research prioritisation and support
Department of Research for Health
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27