Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

R&D in Europe - 1997 Annual Statistics

The 1997 annual statistical report on R&D in Europe has recently been published by EUROSTAT, the European Communities' Statistical Office. It contains details of spending on R&D in Europe, including public spending, as well as the numbers of personnel involved in research acti...
The 1997 annual statistical report on R&D in Europe has recently been published by EUROSTAT, the European Communities' Statistical Office. It contains details of spending on R&D in Europe, including public spending, as well as the numbers of personnel involved in research activities and of patent applications in Europe.

The figures for 1995 show that approximately ECU 123,600 million was spent on research and development in the EU. This figure represents about 1.98% of EU GDP. Within the overall figure for R&D expenditure, some 60% came from businesses and enterprises, with the remainder split equally between higher education, and government.

As in previous years, almost three quarters of total EU R&D expenditure is accounted for by Germany, France and the United Kingdom. The figures for these countries show a slight but steadily decreasing trend in R&D expenditure over the past few years, both in real terms and as a percentage of GDP. The countries where expenditure is increasing tend to be those which start from a low level of R&D spending (such as Portugal and Greece), and the Nordic countries.

The EUROSTAT annual report illustrates the different trends in Member States, and in the three sectors in particular (business/enterprise, higher education, and government). Also of interest are regional disparities in R&D spending within countries. The data suggests that in most countries, other than Germany and Italy, there is a high concentration of R&D spending in and around the capital city. Around 50% of R&D spending goes to the capital regions in Greece, Austria, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. In Denmark, two thirds of R&D spending was in the Copenhagen region.

The number of personnel engaged in R&D activities has increased slightly, with around 2.1 million scientists, technicians and other R&D related personnel involved in the EU. This corresponds to 1.26% of the EU labour force. Around 60% of R&D personnel are employed in the business/enterprise sector, although there are considerable variations between countries, with the higher education sector accounting for much higher proportions in countries such as Portugal, Greece and Austria. The differences in levels of employment of R&D personnel in different regions are also highlighted in the report.

A total of 33,651 patent applications, where at least one inventor was resident in the EU, were made in Europe in 1995. This represents an increase of around 5% over the 1994 level, or an increase of 12% over the 1989 level. The highest number of patent applications per one million of population were from Sweden (195), Germany (169) and Finland (166). The European average is approximately 90 applications per one million population. The report also examines the rate of patent applications at regional level.

Finally, the report examines EU governments' R&D appropriations for 1996, using figures taken from budgets for 1996. A total of ECU 56,000 million was allocated for R&D by EEA governments for 1996. On top of this, a further ECU 2,500 million was allocated by the European Commission. In real terms this figure has declined slightly in the past five years. It should, however, be noted that there are considerable differences between Member States.

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