Science and Technology in Europe - EU spent nearly 2% of GDP on Research and Development

February 26, 2004

25 February 2004

Ratio highest in Sweden and Finland

The European Council in Lisbon in 2000 set the strategic goal of transforming the European Union by 2010 into the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.

Statistics on Science and Technology in Europe1, published today by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities , and the Research Directorate General of the European Commission , reports on where Europe stands in terms of science and technology, and how its position is evolving, particularly as compared to Japan and the United States .

The publication covers government budget appropriations or outlays on Research and Development (R&D), R&D expenditure, R&D personnel, patents, human resources in science and technology, high tech trade and other indicators related to high tech and knowledge intensive sectors. Where data were available, gender main-streamed statistics were produced for most indicators. Each chapter also contains statistics on the ten Acceding Countries 2.

The tables presented in this News Release give an idea of the diversity of the data presented in the publication.

EU R&D expenditure remains behind the United States and Japan

The Barcelona Council meeting in 2002 set some clear and specific targets that would allow for monitoring progress and achievement of the more general goals. It was agreed that Member States should strive to achieve 3% of GDP to be spent on research by 2010.

In 2001 R&D expenditure as a share of GDP in the EU was 1.98% and is estimated at 1.99% in 2002, an increase compared to 1.95% in 2000. However, the gap with regard to R&D expenditure in Japan (2.98% in 2000) and the United States (2.80%) remained significant. The level reached by the Acceding Countries was 0.84% in 2001.

According to the latest data available, the Member States with the highest R&D intensity were Sweden (4.% of GDP devoted to R&D expenditure in 2001) and Finland (3.49% in 2002). The other Member States with R&D intensity rates above the EU average were Germany (2.49% in 2001), Denmark (2.40% in 2001), France (2.20% in 2002) and Belgium (2.17% in 2001). The lowest intensities were found in Greece (0.67% in 2000), Portugal (0.84% in 2001) and Spain (0.96% in 2001).

Most R&D in the EU was carried out in Germany (52 billion euro in 2001), France (33 bn) and the United Kingdom (30 bn). These three Member States accounted for almost two thirds of total R&D expenditure in the EU .

The highest intensity of R&D expenditure among the Acceding Countries was found in Slovenia (1.52% of GDP in 2001) and the Czech Republic (1.33% in 2001), and the lowest in Cyprus (0.26% in 2001). More than 80% of the 3.4 billion euro of R&D expenditure in absolute terms in the Acceding Countries was carried out in Poland (1.3 bn), the Czech Republic (0.8 bn) and Hungary (0.5 bn). [Table and further information]

DN: STAT/04/25 Date: 25/02/2004

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