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First estimates of Research & Development expenditure

R&D expenditure in the EU increased slightly to 2.07% of GDP in 2017. Two thirds spent in the business enterprise sector

In 2017, the Member States of the European Union (EU) spent all together almost €320 billion on Research & Development (R&D). The R&D intensity, i.e. R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP, stood at 2.07% in 2017, compared with 2.04% in 2016. Ten years earlier (2007), R&D intensity was 1.77%.

With respect to other major economies, R&D intensity in the EU was much lower than in South Korea (4.22% in 2015), Japan (3.28% in 2015) and the United States (2.76% in 2015), while it was at about the same level as in China (2.06% in 2015) and much higher than in Russia (1.1% in 2015) and Turkey (0.96%). In order to provide a stimulus to the EU’s competitiveness, an increase by 2020 of the R&D intensity to 3% in the EU is one of the five headline targets of the Europe 2020 strategy.

The business enterprise sector continues to be the main sector in which R&D expenditure was spent, accounting for 66% of total R&D disbursed in 2017, followed by the higher education sector (22%), the government sector (11%) and the private non-profit sector (1%).

This information on Research and Development in the EU is published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. R&D is a major driver of innovation, and R&D expenditure and intensity are two of the key indicators used to monitor resources devoted to science and technology worldwide.

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