Get going on R&D spending, experts tell EU

The EU is not spending enough on basic research and developing new technologies, experts at a Brussels conference said, backed by recent Eurostat data.

EU business is spending only 44% for Research and Development (R&D) of what Japanese companies are spending, according to new figures by Eurostat. The EU is still the second most important investor into R&D worldwide, but more efforts are needed to drive innovation and create US-style centres of excellence, policy makers, senior researchers and business leaders agreed at the European research and innovation day organised by Microsoft on 6 November 2005 in Brussels. 

Jean Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International, said Europe needed a stronger, faster pace of innovation. “We ask other companies to invest in research and innovation too. The potential benefits are considerable if all sides are willing to commit to creating a knowledge-based society in Europe.”  

MEP Jorgos Chatzimakakis (ALDE, Germany) said Europe’s problem was not that there is not enough innovation, but rather the relatively weak link between business and research: “What is needed is transforming patents into products.” The UK Presidency’s proposals in that respect are “quite poor”, said Rudolf Strohmeier, head of cabinet for Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding, at the conference. 

“The US has most of the world’s top universities, and spending per student is two to three times higher than in the EU”, said Carl Bildt, the former prime minister  of Sweden, who has become a special envoy for the UN. We have a better level of basic education here, but by losing out to the US in higher education it means that they can attract all the best talent, and it’s mainly down to money.” 

 

Research and Development expenditure 

 

R&D intensity,

R&D expenditure as % of GDP

R&D expenditure
1

R&D expenditure financed by business sector, as % of total

 

2001

2003

2004

2004

(mio euro)

Annual average growth rate in real terms (%)

2001-2004

2003

EU25

1.93 1.92 1.90p 195 042p 1.3 54.3

Belgium

2.17 1.92 1.93p 5 465p -2.3 60.3

Czech Republic

1.22 1.26 1.28 1 100 4.5 51.5

Denmark

2.40 2.59 2.63p 5 112p 4.3 61.3

Germany

2.46 2.52 2.49p 55 100p 0.8 66.3

Estonia

0.73 0.82 0.91p 83p 15.6 33.0

Greece

0.64 0.62 0.58p 967p 1.1 30.7

Spain

0.92 1.05 : 8 213* 10.2 48.4

France

2.20 2.18 2.16p 35 648p 0.9 50.8

Ireland

1.12 1.16 1.20 1 780 7.3 59.1

Italy

1.11 1.14 : 14 769* 1.3 :

Cyprus

0.26 0.35 0.37p 46p 15.2 19.8

Latvia

0.41 0.38 0.42 47 8.6 33.2

Lithuania

0.68 0.68 0.76 137 12.2 16.7

Luxembourg

: 1.78 : 426* 3.6 80.4

Hungary

0.95 0.95 0.89 721 1.5 30.7

Malta

: 0.27 0.29p 12p 1.4 18.6**

Netherlands

1.81 1.76 1.77p 8 657p -0.1 50.9

Austria

2.04 2.19p 2.26p 5 346p 5.1 43.9

Poland

0.64 0.56 0.58 1 139 0.4 30.3

Portugal

0.85 0.78 : 1 020* -4.3 31.7

Slovenia

1.56 1.54p 1.61p 418p 4.6 59.3

Slovakia

0.64 0.58 0.53 174 -1.8 45.1

Finland

3.38 3.48 3.51 5 253 4.0 70.0

Sweden

4.27 3.98 3.74 10 426 -2.1 65.0

United Kingdom

1.89 1.88 : 30 092* 2.2 43.9

Bulgaria

0.47 0.50 0.51 99 8.2 26.8

Croatia

: 1.14 : 292* 6.7 42.1

Romania

0.39 0.40 0.40 235 : 45.4

Turkey

0.72 0.66** : 1 280** -1.0 41.3**

Iceland

3.08 2.97 3.01 297 1.7 43.9

Norway

1.60 1.75 : 3411* 5.2 49.2

China

1.07 1.31 : 16 444* : 60.1

Japan

3.07 3.15 : 119 748* 1.8 74.5

United States

2.71 2.59p : 251 577p* -0.1 63.1

: Data not available p: estimated or provisional data            Source: Eurostat

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