04 Dec 2017

R&D expenditure in the EU: R&D intensity above 3% in Sweden and Austria


On 1 December 2017, EUROSTAT has published first estimates of Research & Development expenditure in 2016.

In 2016, the Member States of the European Union (EU) spent all together over €300 billion on Research & Development (R&D). The R&D intensity, i.e. R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP, remained stable at 2.03% in 2016. Ten years ago (2006), R&D intensity was 1.76%.

In 2016, the highest R&D intensities were recorded in Sweden (3.25%) and Austria (3.09%), both with R&D expenditure above 3% of GDP. They were closely followed by Germany (2.94%), Denmark (2.87%) and Finland (2.75%). At the opposite end of the scale, ten Member States recorded an R&D intensity below 1%: Latvia (0.44%), Romania (0.48%), Cyprus (0.50%), Malta (0.61%), Lithuania (0.74%), Bulgaria (0.78%), Slovakia (0.79%), Croatia (0.84%), Poland (0.97%) and Greece (0.99%).

Over the last ten years, R&D intensity rose in twenty-two Member States, with the highest increases in Austria (from 2.36% in 2006 to 3.09% in 2016, or +0.73 percentage points - pp) and Belgium (+0.68 pp). Conversely, R&D intensity decreased in six Member States, most strongly in Finland (from 3.34% in 2006 to 2.75% in 2016, or -0.59 pp) and Luxembourg (-0.43 pp).

With respect to other major economies, R&D intensity in the EU was much lower than in South Korea (4.23% in 2015), Japan (3.29% in 2015) and the United States (2.79% in 2015), while it was about the same level as in China (2.07% in 2015) and much higher than in Russia (1.10% in 2015) and Turkey (0.88% in 2015). In order to provide a stimulus to the EU’s competitiveness, an increase by 2020 of the R&D intensity to 3% in the EU is one of the five headline targets of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Eurostat News Release