EU spends nearly 2% of GDP on R&D

In 2002 Research & Development intensity (i.e. R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP) in the EU25 stood at 1.93%, an increase compared to 1.82% in 1998. Even if R&D expenditure rose by 4.0% on average per year (between 1999 and 2002) compared to +2.7% in the United States (between 1998 and 2003) and +2.2% in Japan (between 1998 and 2002), the R&D intensity remained significantly lower in the EU25. In the US, R&D expenditure represented 2.76% of GDP in 2003 and 3.12% in Japan in 2002.

The business sector financed 55% of the total EU25 R&D expenditure in 2001, while the shares of the business sector in the United States and Japan were 67% (in 2001) and 74% (in 2002) respectively.

The EU goals in Research and Development, as set by the Lisbon summit strategy, are to achieve by 2010 a R&D intensity of at least 3% for the EU as a whole, and to have two thirds of R&D expenditure financed by the business sector.

This information comes from a report released by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, on R&D expenditure in the EU and the 25 Member States. This document provides also information about EFTA countries, Candidate Countries as well as China, Japan and the United States in order to facilitate comparison at a world level.

In 2003, and among Member States, the highest R&D intensity was registered in Sweden (4.27% of GDP in 2001) and Finland (3.51%), followed by Denmark (2.60%), Germany (2.50%), Belgium (2.33%), France and Austria (both 2.19%). The lowest intensities were found in Cyprus (0.33%), Latvia (0.39%), Slovakia (0.57%) and Poland (0.59%).

Annual average growth rates of R&D expenditure ranged from +11% in Estonia, Cyprus and Hungary (between 1998 and 2003) to +2% in Greece (1999-2001) and the Netherlands (1998-2001). R&D expenditure only decreased in Slovakia and Poland (-3% and -1% respectively on average per year between 1998 and 2003).

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