2.3R&D expenditure in the public sector

By Peter Viaene (EWI).

Globally the share of R&D spending by the public sector within total R&D spending stays stable between 2012 and 2017. R&D spending by the public sector (non-BERD = GOVERD + HERD + PNP) amounted to 2,235 million euros in 2017. About 41% of this amount was spent by public research institutes (GOV) and  58% by higher education institutions (HES). There is an increase in the R&D expenditure (in absolute terms) of the public sector in 2016 and 2017. The R&D intensity for the public sector (non-BERD as a % of GDP) in Flanders amounted to 0.87% in 2017. After a stagnation between 2012 and 2015, a steady increase for 2016 and 2017 can be remarked. When the total R&D intensity of the non-BERD is broken down by source of funds, 0.24% is funded privately and 0.63% by public funds (2017).

Figure 1. Evolution of the R&D spending from 2011 to 2017 in million euros (current prices)

PNPHERDGOVERDnonBERD€ 0€ 500€ 1000€ 1500€ 2000€ 2500€ 3000R&D spending current prices in million euros20112012201320142015201620170500100015002000250030002011201220132014201520162017GOVERD: € 860 PNPHERDGOVERDnonBERD€ 0€ 500€ 1000€ 1500€ 2000€ 2500€ 3000R&D spending current prices in million euros20112012201320142015201620170500100015002000250030002011201220132014201520162017 PNPHERDGOVERDnonBERD€ 0€ 1000€ 2000€ 3000R&D spending current prices in million euros201120122013201420152016201701000200030002011201220132014201520162017

The GOVERD and HERD (2017) can be broken down by different fields of science. For the GOV sector, this indicates the dominant position of engineering and technology (79.4%). For the HES sector, the most important fields of science are the medical sciences (30.8%), the natural sciences (18.2%), the social sciences (17.8%), the natural sciences (16.6%), and engineering & technology (16.6%).

Figure 2. Evolution of R&D intensity for nonBERD from 2011 to 2017

PNPHERDGOVERDnonBERD0,00%0,10%0,20%0,30%0,40%0,50%0,60%0,70%0,80%0,90%Percentage R&D expenditure of GDP20112012201320142015201620170,000,100,200,300,400,500,600,700,800,902011201220132014201520162017 PNPHERDGOVERDnonBERD0,00%0,20%0,40%0,60%0,80%Percentage R&D expenditure of GDP20112012201320142015201620170,000,200,400,600,802011201220132014201520162017 PNPHERDGOVERDnonBERD0,00%0,20%0,40%0,60%0,80%Percentage R&D expenditure of GDP20112012201320142015201620170,000,200,400,600,802011201220132014201520162017

For the GOVERD, the most important source of funds in 2017 was abroad (48.1%), followed by government funding (43.6%) and thirdly the companies (7.4%). For the HERD, government funding was again the most important source of funds (69.2%), followed by the companies (15.0%) and abroad (7.8%). The proportion of the HERD that is supported by (domestic) companies for 2017 ranks higher internationally than any of the EU-28 countries and is more than twice the figure for the EU-28 as a whole. Only Germany has a similar proportion. In other words, companies are both an important client and an important source of funds for the research carried out at the Flemish higher education institutions.

Figure 3. International comparison of the funding of HERD by companies in 2017

0%2%4%6%8%10%12%14%16%Percentage of funding by companiesFlanders (2017)Germany* (2016)Belgium (2015)the Netherlands (2016)EU-28* (2016)USA* (2016)Sweden (2015)Finland (2016)Norway (2016)Japan (2017)France (2015)Denmark (2016)0246810121416Flanders (2017)Germany* (2016)Belgium (2015)the Netherlands (2016)EU-28* (2016)USA* (2016)Sweden (2015)Finland (2016)Norway (2016)Japan (2017)France (2015)Denmark (2016) 0%2%4%6%8%10%12%14%16%Percentage of funding by companiesFlanders (2017)Germany* (2016)Belgium (2015)the Netherlands (2016)EU-28* (2016)USA* (2016)Sweden (2015)Finland (2016)Norway (2016)Japan (2017)France (2015)Denmark (2016)0246810121416Flanders (2017)Germany* (2016)Belgium (2015)the Netherlands (2016)EU-28* (2016)USA* (2016)Sweden (2015)Finland (2016)Norway (2016)Japan (2017)France (2015)Denmark (2016) 0%5%10%15%Percentage of funding by companiesFlanders (2017)Germany* (2016)Belgium (2015)the Netherlands (2016)EU-28* (2016)USA* (2016)Sweden (2015)Finland (2016)Norway (2016)Japan (2017)France (2015)Denmark (2016)051015Flanders (2017)Germany* (2016)Belgium (2015)the Netherlands (2016)EU-28* (2016)USA* (2016)Sweden (2015)Finland (2016)Norway (2016)Japan (2017)France (2015)Denmark (2016)

* USA and Germany: provisional; EU28: estimate; Germany: break in time series; USA: other definition

Source: OECD database, Main Science and Technology Indicators. 

For the R&D intensity of the HES, Flanders scores above France and the EU-28 average. The Netherlands (0.61%), Finland (0.70%), Austria (0.70%), Sweden (0.86%), and Denmark (1.01%) have a much higher R&D intensity for the HES. The R&D intensity of the GOV is higher in Flanders than in Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Austria, France, and the EU-28 average. Flanders’ results are lower than Germany. In summary, for both figures, Flanders is maintaining its international position.

Figure 4. International comparison of the R&D intensity of HERD and GOVERD

HERDGOVERDDenmark* (2017)Sweden* (2017)Finland* (2017) Germany* (2017)Austria* (2017)Flanders (2017)the Netherlands* (2016)Belgium* (2016)Norway* (2017)France* (2016)EU-28* (2017)USA* (2017)Japan (2017)0,00%0,10%0,20%0,30%0,40%0,50%0,60%0,70%0,80%0,90%1,00%1,10%Percentage R&D expenditure of GDPDenmark* (2017)Sweden* (2017)Finland* (2017) Germany* (2017)Austria* (2017)Flanders (2017)the Netherlands* (2016)Belgium* (2016)Norway* (2017)France* (2016)EU-28* (2017)USA* (2017)Japan (2017)0,000,100,200,300,400,500,600,700,800,901,001,10 HERDGOVERDDenmark* (2017)Sweden* (2017)Finland* (2017) Germany* (2017)Austria* (2017)Flanders (2017)the Netherlands* (2016)Belgium* (2016)Norway* (2017)France* (2016)EU-28* (2017)USA* (2017)Japan (2017)0,00%0,20%0,40%0,60%0,80%1,00%Percentage R&D expenditure of GDPDenmark* (2017)Sweden* (2017)Finland* (2017) Germany* (2017)Austria* (2017)Flanders (2017)the Netherlands* (2016)Belgium* (2016)Norway* (2017)France* (2016)EU-28* (2017)USA* (2017)Japan (2017)0,000,200,400,600,801,00 HERDGOVERDDenmark* (2017)Sweden* (2017)Finland* (2017) Germany* (2017)Austria* (2017)Flanders (2017)the Netherlands* (2016)Belgium* (2016)Norway* (2017)France* (2016)EU-28* (2017)USA* (2017)Japan (2017)0,00%0,20%0,40%0,60%0,80%1,00%Percentage R&D expenditure of GDPDenmark* (2017)Sweden* (2017)Finland* (2017) Germany* (2017)Austria* (2017)Flanders (2017)the Netherlands* (2016)Belgium* (2016)Norway* (2017)France* (2016)EU-28* (2017)USA* (2017)Japan (2017)0,000,200,400,600,801,00

* Belgium, France, Denmark, USA (HERD), Finland, Sweden, Norway, Austria: provisional; EU-28 and Germany: estimate; the Netherlands (GOVERD) and USA (HERD): other definition

Source: OECD database, Main Science and Technology Indicators.