Research and development in the regions of the EU: Regional R&D expenditure highly concentrated

March 14, 2002

Brussels, 13 March 2002

While expenditure on research and development (R&D)1 accounted for an average of 1.87% of GDP in the EU in 1998, the four regions2 that were most active in this field (Braunschweig, Stuttgart, Oberbayern, Tübingen), all in Germany, each spent more than 4% of their GDP on R&D activities.

In absolute terms, the Ile de France region spent most (EUR 13.4 billion) on R&D in 1999 and alone accounted for almost 9% of all R&D expenditure in the EU. Overall, spending on R&D was highly concentrated, with 28 out of 211 regions accounting for more than half of all spending in 1997.

In terms of R&D personnel, however, it was Stockholm (Sweden) which topped the ranking of EU regions, with 3.65% of its total labour force directly involved in R&D in 1998. Next came two regions in Germany - Oberbayern (3.33% in 1997) and Braunschweig (3.18% in 1997) - followed by Wien in Austria (3.14%).

In 2000 nearly 57 500 applications for patents3 were submitted by the EU to the European Patent Office (EPO). They included 10 500 applications for high-tech patents4. These increased by 22% per year on average between 1995 and 2000, a rate of increase that was twice as much as the rate for patents in general. The Member State that accounted for most patent applications in the EU was Germany, with 42% of EU applications. Here, too, there was strong regional concentration: 21 regions out of 211 accounted for more than half of the patent applications filed with the EPO, and only 13 regions produced more than half of the high-tech applications.

These figures come from two reports on R&D in the EU5, which are published today by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities in Luxembourg.

Five German regions in the ten regions with highest R&D intensity

The ten EU regions which devoted the largest proportion of their GDP to expenditure on R&D were located in four countries: Germany with five regions (Braunschweig, Stuttgart, Oberbayern, Tübingen and Rheinhessen-Pfalz), Finland with two (Pohjois-Suomi and Uusimaa), France with two (Midi-Pyrénées and Île de France) and one in the United Kingdom (Eastern).

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Ten EU regions with highest R&D intensity

Member State NUTS 2 region Year Expenditure as% of GDP Expenditure in current euro (mio)
1 Germany Braunschweig 1997 4.84 1 675
2 Germany Stuttgart 1997 4.79 5 045
3 Germany Oberbayern 1997 4.38 5 911
4 Germany Tübingen 1997 4.05 1 608
5 Finland Pohjois-Suomi 1998 3.82 410
6 Finland Uusimaa (Suuralue) 1998 3.73 1 571
7 France Midi-Pyrénées 1998 3.70 1 803
8 United Kingdom Eastern* 1998 3.64 4 595
9 Germany Rheinhessen-Pfalz 1997 3.50 1 5
10 France Île de France 1998 3.43 12 416

* NUTS 1 region

Oberbayern, Ile de France and Noord-Brabant ahead for high-tech patent applications

Three regions in Europe stood out from the rest for the number of high-tech patents filed in 2000: Oberbayern (Germany) with 1132 applications, Ile de France (France) with 854 and Noord-Brabant (Netherlands) with 633. When the number of applications is related to the size of a region's labour force, three regions in Finland and three in Sweden were ranked in the top 15.

15 EU regions with most high-tech patent applications per million labour force in 2000*

Member State NUTS 2 region High-tech patent applications per million labour force High-tech patent applications High-tech patents as% of all patent applications
EU-15 60.6 10 480 18%
1 Germany Oberbayern 540.9 1 132 37%
2 Finland Uusimaa (Suuralue) 530.4 416 52%
3 Netherlands Noord-Brabant 524.2 633 40%
4 Sweden Stockholm 430.0 416 40%
5 Sweden Sydsverige 336.3 199 35%
6 Finland Pohjois-Suomi 312.1 86 54%
7 United Kingdom East Anglia 236.3 265 39%
8 Finland Etelä-Suomi 202.4 188 37%
9 Germany Mittelfranken 189.7 160 19%
10 United Kingdom Gloucestershire, Wiltshire & North Somerset 169.6 197 39%
11 United Kingdom Hampshire & Isle of Wight 169.0 156 43%
12 Germany Stuttgart 162.9 315 12%
13 Sweden Övre Norrland 160.5 39 35%
14 Germany Oberpfalz 159.6 84 20%
15 France Île de France 155.1 854 25%

* Provisional data

Strong regional concentration in most Member States

A strong concentration of R&D in one or two regions of a Member State is a common feature. In eight of the 12 Member States comprising more than two NUTS 2 regions, a single region accounted for more than a third of all national patent applications in 2000, with Attiki accounting for 66% of national applications in Greece, Uusimaa for 49% in Finland, Lisboa e Vale do Tejo for 47% in Portugal and Noord-Brabant for 46% in the Netherlands.

Similarly, in nine out of the ten countries for which adequate sub-national data were available, the two leading regions accounted for more than 40% of national spending on R&D. The concentration was particularly strong in Portugal, where the Lisboa e Vale do Tejo region accounted for 54% of national expenditure, and in Austria, where the figure in Wien was 52%. Germany seems to be the country where R&D spending is most evenly spread among the various regions.

Two regions with most patent applications per Member State in 2000*

Member State First NUTS 2 region Patent applications in 2000 Applications as% of national total Second NUTS 2 region Patent applications in 2000 Applications as% of national total Total for both regions
Belgique Vlaams Brabant 4 18% Antwerpen 268 17% 35%
Denmark Denmark 903 100%
Germany Oberbayern 3 092 13% Stuttgart 2 533 10% 23%
Greece Attiki 36 66% Kentriki Makedonia 9 17% 83%
Spain Cataluña 305 35% Comunidad de Madrid 199 23% 58%
France Île de France 3 424 41% Rhône-Alpes 1 323 16% 57%
Irlande Southern and Eastern 288 87% Border, Midlands & Western 41 12%
Italy Lombardia 1 371 33% Emilia-Romagna 645 15% 48%
Luxembourg Luxembourg 74 100%
Netherlands Noord-Brabant 1 585 46% Zuid-Holland 490 14% 60%
Austria Oberösterreich 244 20% Wien 239 19% 39%
Portugal Lisboa e Vale do Tejo 18 47% Norte 12 31% 78%
Finland Uusimaa (Suuralue) 806 49% Etelä-Suomi 503 30% 79%
Suède Stockholm 1 038 34% Sydsverige 571 19% 52%
United Kingdom East Anglia 682 9% Berkshire, Bucks & Oxfordshire 664 9% 18%

* Provisional data

Two regions with highest R&D expenditure per Member State

Member State Year First NUTS 2 region Expenditure in current euro (mio) Expenditure as% of national expenditure Second NUTS 2 region Expenditure in current euro (mio) Expenditure as % of national expenditure Total for both regions
Denmark 1999 Denmark 3 305 100%
Germany 1997 Oberbayern 5 911 14% Stuttgart 5 045 12% 26%
Greece 1997 Attiki 267 49% Kentriki Makedonia 96 18% 67%
Spain 1999 Comunidad de Madrid 1 589 32% Cataluña 1 130 23% 55%
France 1999 Île de France 13 426 45% Rhône-Alpes 2 966 10% 55%
Italy 1996 Lombardia 2 372 24% Lazio 1 869 19% 43%
Netherlands 1998 Zuid-Holland 1 698 25% Noord-Brabant 1 222 18% 43%
Austria 1993 Wien 1 218 52% Steiermark 331 14% 66%
Portugal 1999 Lisboa e Vale do Tejo 438 54% Norte 169 21% 75%
Finland 1999 Uusimaa (Suuralue) 1 804 47% Etelä-Suomi 1 152 30% 77%
United Kingdom 1999 South East* 6 021 24% Eastern* 4 595 18% 42%

* NUTS 1 region
R&D expenditure according to the Frascati Manual, OECD, 1993.
Level 2 regions according to the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS).

A patent is a public title of industrial property conferring on its owner the exclusive right to exploit an invention commercially for a limited period in a specific territory. The data given here refer solely to patent applications filed with the EPO for use in the European market.

The following fields are defined as "high technology": aviation, computers and automated business equipment, communication technology, lasers, micro-organism and genetic engineering, semi-conductors.

Eurostat, Statistics in Focus, Science and Technology, No 1/2002, "Patent activities in the EU: towards high tech patenting 1990 to 2000", and No 2/2002, "R&D expenditure and personnel in European regions 1997-99". No 1/2002 also contains national statistics on patents, together with comparisons with the United States and Japan. See also the recent Eurostat publication, "Research and Development: annual statistics, data 1990-2000", 180 pages, price €29.50, ISBN 92-894-2060-X.

Eurostat Press Office:
Philippe Bautier, Tim ALLEN, Louise Corselli-Nordblad
BECH Building
L-2920 Luxembourg
Tel: +352-4301-33 444
Fax: +352-4301-35 349
eurostat-pressoffice@cec.eu.int

For further information: Ibrahim LAAFIA
Tel.: +352-4301-34 462
Fax: +352-4301-34 149
Ibrahim.Laafia@cec.eu.int

Alice ZOPPÈ
Tel: +352-4301-32 023
Fax: +352-4301-34 149
alice.zoppe@cec.eu.int

Eurostat news releases on the Internet: http://europa.eu.int/comm/eurostat/

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DN: STAT/02/31 Date: 13/03/2002

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