EU member states spent a total of almost €320 billion on Research & Development (R&D) in 2017, according to Eurostat, but Cyprus scored fourth lowest in the rankings.
The R&D intensity, which is expenditure as a percentage of GDP, stood at 2.07 per cent in the EU in 2017, compared with 2.04 per cent in 2016.
Cyprus in 2017 spent €109 million up from €70 million in 2007, which marked an increase in its R&D intensity to 0.56 per cent of GDP from 0.4 per cent a decade previously. This is the 4th lowest score in the EU.
With respect to other major economies, R&D intensity in the EU was much lower than in South Korea (4.22 per cent in 2015), Japan (3.28 per cent in 2015) and the United States (2.76 per cent in 2015), while it was at about the same level as in China (2.06 per cent in 2015) and much higher than in Russia (1.1 per cent in 2015) and Turkey (0.96 per cent).
In order to provide a stimulus to the EU’s competitiveness, an increase by 2020 of the R&D intensity to 3 per cent 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 per cent of total R&D disbursed in 2017, followed by the higher education sector (22 per cent), the government sector (11 per cent) and the private non-profit sector (1 per cent).
Over the last ten years, R&D intensity rose in 21 member states, with the highest increases in Austria (from 2.42 per cent in 2007 to 3.16 per cent in 2017, or +0.74 percentage points – pp) and Belgium (from 1.84 per cent in 2007 to 2.58 per cent in 2017, or +0.74 pp). Conversely, R&D intensity decreased in six member states and most strongly in Finland (-0.59 pp) and Luxembourg (-0.33 pp). In Malta, R&D intensity remained at the level of 0.55 per cent.
The main sector in which R&D was performed in 2017 was the business enterprise sector in all Member States, except Cyprus and Latvia where the higher education sector was the dominant performing sector.