3.6R&D personnel in the public sector

By Peter Viaene (EWI).

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 (64.8%) work in the private sector (BES). The overall share of the public component (PNP, HES, and GOV) rather declines since 2012. The HES component is the most important element of the public component (with 15,223 FTE or 72.2%) in 2019, followed by the GOV component (5,372 FTE or 26.4%).

The R&D staff within the non-profit organizations (public sector) counted about 20,900 full-time equivalents in 2019. This figure corresponds with about 34,900 headcount, of which about 25,300 researchers and approximately 9,600 technical and other personnel. The breakdown of R&D staff by gender shows that around 16,400 women and 18,500 men are employed in the public sector on R&D activities. One in three of the R&D personnel in the public sector has granted a Ph.D (11,700 headcount).

The R&D personnel in the GOV and HERD (2019) can be broken down by different fields of science. For the GOV sector, this indicates the dominant position of engineering and technology. For the HES sector, the most important fields of science are the medical sciences, the natural sciences, engineering, and the social sciences.

More 81.4% of the R&D personnel working in the HES on R&D activities in Flanders are researchers (2019). This figure is rather high compared to the other European countries and much higher than the EU27 average. Approximately 72% of the R&D personnel (2019) in the GOV in Flanders are also researchers. Once again, this figure is higher than for France, Germany, and the EU27 average, but this time lower than most of the Scandinavian countries.

With a figure of 43.1% for female researchers working in the higher education (HES), Flanders again compares favourably with neighbouring countries (Germany and France), but the Scandinavian countries show higher rates here. For female staff working in public research centres (GOV), Flanders has a score lower to Germany and France, but once again cannot match the performance of the north European countries.

Figure 1. International comparison of the share of female researchers in GOV and HES (in headcount)

HESGOVJapan (2019)Germany* (2019)France* (2017)Austria* (2019)Belgium (2019)Flanders (2019)Sweden* (2017)Denmark* (2019)The Netherlands* (2018)Norway (2019)Finland (2019)0,00%0,05%0,10%0,15%0,20%0,25%0,30%0,35%0,40%0,45%0,50%0,55%Percentage of female researchersJapan (2019)Germany* (2019)France* (2017)Austria* (2019)Belgium (2019)Flanders (2019)Sweden* (2017)Denmark* (2019)The Netherlands* (2018)Norway (2019)Finland (2019)0,000,050,100,150,200,250,300,350,400,450,500,55 HESGOVJapan (2019)Germany* (2019)France* (2017)Austria* (2019)Belgium (2019)Flanders (2019)Sweden* (2017)Denmark* (2019)The Netherlands* (2018)Norway (2019)Finland (2019)0,00%0,10%0,20%0,30%0,40%0,50%Percentage of female researchersJapan (2019)Germany* (2019)France* (2017)Austria* (2019)Belgium (2019)Flanders (2019)Sweden* (2017)Denmark* (2019)The Netherlands* (2018)Norway (2019)Finland (2019)0,000,100,200,300,400,50 HESGOVJapan (2019)Germany* (2019)France* (2017)Austria* (2019)Belgium (2019)Flanders (2019)Sweden* (2017)Denmark* (2019)The Netherlands* (2018)Norway (2019)Finland (2019)0,00%0,10%0,20%0,30%0,40%0,50%Percentage of female researchersJapan (2019)Germany* (2019)France* (2017)Austria* (2019)Belgium (2019)Flanders (2019)Sweden* (2017)Denmark* (2019)The Netherlands* (2018)Norway (2019)Finland (2019)0,000,100,200,300,400,50

* Denmark and France: provisional; Austria, Germany (GOV), the Netherlands (GOV): other definition; Sweden: time series break

Source: OECD database, Main Science and Technology Indicators.