Estonia is average among European Union member countries in terms of financing the research and development (R&D) sphere, according to a Eurostat study.
While 1.84 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) was the average allocated by European Union states for research and development and labour costs of the sector in 2006, in Estonia the percentage was 1.1, the 15th highest in the EU.
The proportion of funding for R&D was the highest in Sweden (3.73 percent of GDP) and Finland (3.45 percent); of new member countries Slovenia (1.59 percent) and the Czech Republic (1.54 percent) were ahead of Estonia. Allocations for research and development were the lowest in Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovakia — all under 0.5 percent of GDP.
Of the world’s biggest economies, Japan (3.20 percent) and the United States (2.62 percent) were considerably ahead of the EU average.
At the same time, Estonia took first place in the European Union in terms of the growth in means allocated for R&D in the years 2001-06, by 25.3 per cent a year. The average growth in the European Union in the same period was 3.2 percent.
The growth in these allocations was also higher than 20 percent in Latvia (24.4 percent), Malta (23.5 percent) and Romania (20.2 percent).
According to the Lisbon Strategy, which is directed at raising the global competitiveness of the European Union’s R&D allocations, they should all be brought up to 3 percent of GDP by 2010.
The Lisbon Strategy also recommends that two-thirds of R&D expenses could be financed by the business sector. The actual European Union average concerning this point was 54.6 percent in 2005.
The leading countries in terms of the share of business in the R&D sphere are Luxembourg (79.7 percent), Germany (67,6) and Finland (66.9 percent), with Cyprus (16.8), Latvia (20.8) and Bulgaria (27,8 percent) bringing up the rear. The respective Estonian figure is slightly under 40 percent.
Source: Estonian Review
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