18 Nov 2014
R&D expenditure just over 2% of GDP in the EU in 2013
Almost two thirds performed in the business sector
Eurostat published figures on R&D intensity, where the denominator (GDP) is for the first time based on the European System of Accounts 2010 (ESA 2010) methodology. On average, the use of ESA 2010 GDP leads to a downwards revision of the EU28 series on R&D intensity by around 0.07 percentage points. In 2013, the EU28 Member States spent almost €275 billion on Research & Development (R&D). The R&D intensity, i.e. R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP, stood at 2.02% in the EU28 in 2013, compared with 1.76% in 2004. This level remained however lower in the EU28 than in other major economies. R&D intensity was much higher in South Korea (4.04% in 2011) and Japan (3.38% in 2011) as well as, to a lesser extent, in the United States (2.81% in 2012), while in both China (1.98% in 2012) and Russia (1.11%) R&D intensity was below that of the EU28. In order to provide a stimulus to the EU’s competitiveness, an increase of R&D intensity in the EU28 is one of the five headline targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. The business enterprise sector continued to be the main sector in which R&D expenditure was performed, accounting for 4% of total R&D conducted in 2013, followed by the higher education sector (23%), the government sector (12%) and the private non-profit sector (1%).
Highest R&D intensity in the Nordic Member States
In 2013, the highest R&D intensities were recorded in Finland (3.32%), Sweden (3.21%) and Denmark (3.05%), all above 3% of GDP, followed by Germany (2.94%) and Austria (2.81%). At the opposite end of the scale, ten Member States recorded an R&D intensity below 1% of GDP: Romania (0.39%), Cyprus (0.48%), Latvia (0.60%), Bulgaria (0.65%), Greece (0.78%), Croatia (0.81%), Slovakia (0.83%), Malta (0.85%), Poland (0.87%) and Lithuania (0.95%). Compared with 2004, R&D intensity increased in twenty-two Member States, decreased in Croatia (from 1.03% in 2004 to 0.81% in 2013), Luxembourg (from 1.63% to 1.16%) and Sweden (from 3.39% to 3.21%), and remained almost stable in Romania, Finland and the United Kingdom.