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Eurostat: economic crisis, lower investment in research and development. Belgium and Sweden top investors, Romania last. Italy below EU average

“In 2020, EU Member States spent around €311 billion on research and development (R&D). This is a decrease of €1 billion compared with 2019 (€312 billion)”, according to a report released by Eurostat today. “The R&D intensity, i.e. R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP, stood at 2.3% in 2020, compared with 2.2% in 2019. However, this small increase is due to a decrease in GDP as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic”. Ten years earlier (2010), R&D intensity was 2.0%. “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”. The business sector continues to be the main sector in which R&D expenditure was spent, accounting for 66% of total R&D disbursed in 2020, followed by the higher education sector (22%), and the government sector (12%). In 2020, the highest R&D intensity was recorded in Belgium and Sweden (3.5% of GDP), followed by Austria (3.2%) and Germany (3.1%). At the opposite end of the scale, six Member States recorded a R&D intensity below 1% of GDP: Romania (0.5%), Malta and Latvia (both 0.7%), Cyprus, Bulgaria and Slovakia (all 0.9%).

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