(01 December 2017) – In 2016, the Member States of the European Union 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.
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. So far, only Sweden (3.25%) and Austria (3.09%) have reached R&D expenditure above 3% of GDP.
The business enterprise sector continues to be the main sector in which R&D expenditure was spent, accounting for 65% of total R&D conducted in 2016, followed by the higher education sector (23%), the government sector (112%) and the private non-profit sector (1%).