Commission publishes latest R&D figures for Europe

January 22, 2003

Brussels, 21 Jan 2003

The European Commission has published a new booklet entitled 'Towards a European Research Area. Science, Technology and Innovation - key figures 2002'.

The publication lists statistics from the EU Member States, and where relevant, third countries, under the following headings:
- R&D [research and development] investment for the knowledge-based economy;
- Human resources in S&T [science and technology];
- Comparing performances in science, technology and innovation;
- Impacts of the knowledge-based economy on competitiveness;
- Research in EFTA [European free trade association] and candidate countries: great potential.

'Against [a] challenging policy background, it is all the more important to know where Europe stands in terms of science and technology, and how its position is evolving,' writes EU Commissioner for Research, Philippe Busquin in the preface.

Finland shows the highest growth in R&D investment at 13.5 per cent, while Sweden sees the highest proportion of its R&D funding coming from the private sector. At 75.1 per cent, the figure for Sweden is only 0.2 below that of the US.

Sweden and Finland both invest more venture capital in seed companies and start-ups that the US, while Austria is by far experiencing the greatest growth in this area - 1.8 per cent since 1995. Next comes Denmark at 84.4 per cent.

Under the heading of human resources, the publication also looks at the number of researchers within the EU and the sectors in which they are employed. On average, the higher education sector employs around one third of researchers in the EU, while half are employed by the private sector. The percentage of private sector researchers in the US and Japan is, by contrast, much higher. Figures for this area do, however, vary greatly across the EU, with Ireland and Austria at 64 per cent and Portugal at 13 per cent.

R&D intensity in the candidate countries is still below the EU average of 1.93 per cent, but many countries are catching up, with Slovenia, at 1.51 per cent, currently in line to match the EU average first.

The publication follows on from the 2001 publication, in which benchmarking was the focus. The same 15 indicators are used this time around and qualitative improvements suggested by national statistics offices have been taken into account where possible. The majority of the information was obtained from these offices, although private sources were used to obtain data not collected at national level.

It is recognised in the introduction to the key figures that statistics alone do not provide an all-encompassing picture of science and technology in Europe.

'It should be emphasised that data are only one important contribution in understanding complex subject matters. In addition, qualitative information is needed to analyse, understand and learn from comparing the performance of science, technology and innovation in different countries.'

To obtain a copy of the publication, please contact:
Office for Official Publications of the European Communities
Tel: +352 29 29 42455
E-mail: info-info-opoce@cec.eu.int
and quote ISBN 92-894-4205-0

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities

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