R&D efforts highly concentrated in economic clusters and EU top regions

July 7, 2005

Brussels, 06 Jul 2005

New figures on research and development (R&D) expenditure and personnel in the European regions from Eurostat show that R&D efforts are highly concentrated in economic clusters and top EU regions.

On a national level, Germany scores both the highest overall result and has the highest number of R&D intensive regions.

The latest issue of 'Statistics in focus' presents data showing that some European countries' top regions in terms of R&D intensity (i.e. R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP) present ratios largely above the national level of R&D intensity, such as in the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, the UK, Bulgaria and Romania.

When comparing the R&D intensities between the highest and lowest regions in one country, Germany shows the widest national difference with Braunschweig having the highest R&D intensity of all European regions whose data are available: 7.11 per cent compared to the EU15 and EU25 averages of 1.93 and 1.99 per cent respectively.

Finland, followed by Greece, was found to have the highest regional differences in R&D intensity in the EU in relative terms. But whereas the top Finnish region more than doubles the European average, in the case of Greece, this difference means that whilst the Kriti region performed 1 per cent, still well above the average, R&D was nearly non-existent in Notio Aigio.

The proportion of R&D personnel as a percentage of persons employed was on average 1.44 per cent for the EU25 and 1.54 per cent for the EU15 in 2002. This ratio is easily exceeded by most countries' top regions, except for Estonia, Ireland (considered at national level), Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovenia and Slovakia.

Outside of the EU, Romania and Norway's top regions, as well as Iceland, had a higher proportion of R&D personnel than the EU average.

Braunschweig again leads the German and European regions with a little more than 4 per cent of workers active in R&D. Again, the discrepancies between the top and the weakest regions within one country can be high: the Czech Republic's capital has more than 16 times the proportion of R&D personnel (as a percentage of all employees) that the Severozápad region has, while Austria's capital city had an R&D personnel density more than 26 times higher than that of Burgenland.

The regional pattern of R&D personnel distribution across the whole of Europe shows that high concentrations are clustered in the capital regions and/or important industrial and technological regions (southern Germany or northern Italy). However in the new Member States, high concentrations of R&D personnel are more scattered across one or two regions per country.

Regional disparities in R&D intensity at NUTS 1 level for the three main R&D-performing institutional sectors (business enterprise, government and higher education) and the total for all sectors are equally presented.

The top region in terms of private sector R&D intensity was found to be Braunschweig (Germany) with 5.25 per cent, followed by Västsverige (Sweden) with 5.19 per cent. Among the 15 top regions Germany is represented six times, Finland twice, Sweden four times, the UK twice and the Netherlands once. Among those, the top region more than quadruplicates the EU-25 average R&D intensity (1.25 per cent) and even the lowest ranking region from the top 15 duplicates it.

In terms of government sector R&D intensity at NUTS 1 level, an overwhelming nine out of 15 top R&D regions are German, three are French, two are Dutch and one is Greek. Berlin and the French overseas departments (Départements d'Outre-Mer) exhibit expenditures in R&D amounting to more than 1 per cent of their regional GDP. Even the lowest ranking region has almost twice the R&D intensity of the EU-25's average for government sector expenditure (0.25 per cent). Germany and France also bear the highest regional discrepancies in government sector R&D intensity, that in other European countries are much less pronounced than for instance in the business enterprise sector.

With regards to the higher education sector (HES), the EU25 average R&D intensity stands at 0.42 per cent, about one third of that of the business enterprise sector. No region has a HES intensity exceeding 1 per cent of GDP. The highest score is again for Germany, with Berlin's higher education sector on top. The most remarkable regional differences are also present in this country.

When looking at the share of R&D personnel on total employment at NUTS 1 level, the obvious link between R&D personnel and expenditure is confirmed.

The evolution of R&D employment in terms of annual average growth rates (AAGR) is also led by Germany. Only two regions, both German, are present in the top 15 for the three sectors in terms of AAGR.

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CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities
Item source: http:///dbs.cordis.lu/cgi-bin/srchidadb?C ALLER=NHP_EN_NEWS&ACTION=D&SESSION=&RCN= EN_RCN_ID:24101

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