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3.4Total R&D personnel
By Machteld Hoskens (KU Leuven), Wytse Joosten (KU Leuven), Laura Verheyden (KU Leuven), and Peter Viaene (EWI).
In 2017, the total number of R&D personnel for Flanders reached 50,847 full-time equivalents (FTE), which is an increase of 25.5% since 2012. Over the past five years, the number of research staff has increased both in companies and in the public sector. The public sector groups together all research institutes from the higher education sector (HES), the government sector (GOV), and the private not-for-profit sector (PNP). The majority of the R&D personnel (62.3%) work in the private sector (BES). The overall share of the public component (PNP, HES, and GOV) rather declines since 2012. The HES component was the most important element of the public component (with 14,107 FTE or 73.7%) in 2017, followed by the GOV component (4,767 FTE or 24.9%).
Figure 1. Evolution of R&D personnel in FTE from 2011 to 2017
The level of R&D personnel corresponds to 0.74% of the total population and 1.59% (2016) of the labour force. Flanders therefore belongs to the sub-top with regard to R&D personnel numbers as a proportion of the labour force. The Flemish figure is higher than the EU-28 average but the Scandinavian countries still have a significant lead.