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 2014 and 2019. R&D spending by the public sector (non-BERD = GOVERD + HERD + PNP) amounted to 2,645 million euros in 2019. About 42% of this amount was spent by public research institutes (GOV) and  57% by higher education institutions (HES). There is an increase in the R&D expenditure (in absolute terms) of the public sector in 2018 and 2019. The R&D intensity for the public sector (non-BERD as a % of GDP) in Flanders amounted to 0.94% in 2019. After a stagnation between 2012 and 2015, a steady increase between 2016 and 2019 can be remarked. When the total R&D intensity of the non-BERD is broken down by source of funds, 0.27% is funded privately and 0.67% by public funds (2019).

Figure 1. Evolution of the R&D spending from 2013 to 2019 in million euros (current prices)

GOVERDHERDPNPnonBERD€ 0€ 500€ 1000€ 1500€ 2000€ 2500€ 3000R&D spending current prices in million euros20132014201520162017201820190500100015002000250030002013201420152016201720182019 GOVERDHERDPNPnonBERD€ 0€ 500€ 1000€ 1500€ 2000€ 2500€ 3000R&D spending current prices in million euros20132014201520162017201820190500100015002000250030002013201420152016201720182019 GOVERDHERDPNPnonBERD€ 0€ 1000€ 2000€ 3000R&D spending current prices in million euros201320142015201620172018201901000200030002013201420152016201720182019

The GOVERD 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 (80.9 %). For the HES sector, the most important fields of science are the medical sciences (30.2%), the natural sciences (17.4%), the social sciences (17.5%), and engineering & technology (15.8%).

Figure 2. Evolution of R&D intensity for nonBERD from 2013 to 2019

HERDGOVERDPNPnonBERD0,00%0,10%0,20%0,30%0,40%0,50%0,60%0,70%0,80%0,90%1,00%Percentage R&D expenditure of GDP20132014201520162017201820190,000,100,200,300,400,500,600,700,800,901,002013201420152016201720182019 HERDGOVERDPNPnonBERD0,00%0,20%0,40%0,60%0,80%1,00%Percentage R&D expenditure of GDP20132014201520162017201820190,000,200,400,600,801,002013201420152016201720182019 HERDGOVERDPNPnonBERD0,00%0,20%0,40%0,60%0,80%1,00%Percentage R&D expenditure of GDP20132014201520162017201820190,000,200,400,600,801,002013201420152016201720182019

For the GOVERD, the most important source of funds in 2019 was abroad (50.6%), followed by government funding (41.1%), and, thirdly, the companies (7.7%). For the HERD, government funding was again the most important source of funds (69.1%), followed by the companies (14.6%), and abroad (8.5%). The proportion of the HERD that is supported by (domestic) companies for 2019 ranks higher internationally than any of the EU27 countries and is more than twice the figure for the EU27 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 2019

0%2%4%6%8%10%12%14%16%Percentage of funding by companiesFlanders (2019)Germany* (2018)Belgium (2019)the Netherlands (2019)EU27* (2019)USA* (2018)Austria (2019)Sweden (2017)Japan (2019)Finland (2019)France* (2018)Norway (2019)Denmark* (2019)0246810121416Flanders (2019)Germany* (2018)Belgium (2019)the Netherlands (2019)EU27* (2019)USA* (2018)Austria (2019)Sweden (2017)Japan (2019)Finland (2019)France* (2018)Norway (2019)Denmark* (2019) 0%2%4%6%8%10%12%14%16%Percentage of funding by companiesFlanders (2019)Germany* (2018)Belgium (2019)the Netherlands (2019)EU27* (2019)USA* (2018)Austria (2019)Sweden (2017)Japan (2019)Finland (2019)France* (2018)Norway (2019)Denmark* (2019)0246810121416Flanders (2019)Germany* (2018)Belgium (2019)the Netherlands (2019)EU27* (2019)USA* (2018)Austria (2019)Sweden (2017)Japan (2019)Finland (2019)France* (2018)Norway (2019)Denmark* (2019) 0%5%10%15%Percentage of funding by companiesFlanders (2019)Germany* (2018)Belgium (2019)the Netherlands (2019)EU27* (2019)USA* (2018)Austria (2019)Sweden (2017)Japan (2019)Finland (2019)France* (2018)Norway (2019)Denmark* (2019)051015Flanders (2019)Germany* (2018)Belgium (2019)the Netherlands (2019)EU27* (2019)USA* (2018)Austria (2019)Sweden (2017)Japan (2019)Finland (2019)France* (2018)Norway (2019)Denmark* (2019)

* France and Denmark: provisional; EU27: estimate; USA and Germany: other definition

Source: OECD database, Main Science and Technology Indicators. 

For the R&D intensity of the HES, Flanders scores above the EU27 average. The Netherlands (0.60%), Finland (0.71%), Austria (0.68%), Norway (0.74%), Sweden (0.84%), and Denmark (0.99%) 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, Finland, France, and the EU27 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

HERDGOVERDUSA* (2018)Japan (2019)EU27* (2019)Belgium (2019)Flanders (2019)France* (2019)Germany (2019)the Netherlands* (2019)Finland (2019)Austria (2019)Norway (2019)Sweden* (2018)Denmark (2019)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 GDPUSA* (2018)Japan (2019)EU27* (2019)Belgium (2019)Flanders (2019)France* (2019)Germany (2019)the Netherlands* (2019)Finland (2019)Austria (2019)Norway (2019)Sweden* (2018)Denmark (2019)0,000,100,200,300,400,500,600,700,800,901,001,10GOVERD: 0,4% HERDGOVERDUSA* (2018)Japan (2019)EU27* (2019)Belgium (2019)Flanders (2019)France* (2019)Germany (2019)the Netherlands* (2019)Finland (2019)Austria (2019)Norway (2019)Sweden* (2018)Denmark (2019)0,00%0,20%0,40%0,60%0,80%1,00%Percentage R&D expenditure of GDPUSA* (2018)Japan (2019)EU27* (2019)Belgium (2019)Flanders (2019)France* (2019)Germany (2019)the Netherlands* (2019)Finland (2019)Austria (2019)Norway (2019)Sweden* (2018)Denmark (2019)0,000,200,400,600,801,00 HERDGOVERDUSA* (2018)Japan (2019)EU27* (2019)Belgium (2019)Flanders (2019)France* (2019)Germany (2019)the Netherlands* (2019)Finland (2019)Austria (2019)Norway (2019)Sweden* (2018)Denmark (2019)0,00%0,20%0,40%0,60%0,80%1,00%Percentage R&D expenditure of GDPUSA* (2018)Japan (2019)EU27* (2019)Belgium (2019)Flanders (2019)France* (2019)Germany (2019)the Netherlands* (2019)Finland (2019)Austria (2019)Norway (2019)Sweden* (2018)Denmark (2019)0,000,200,400,600,801,00

* France and Denmark (GOVERD): provisional; EU27: estimation; the Netherlands (GOVERD), Germany (GOVERD), USA (HERD): other definition.

Source: OECD database, Main Science and Technology Indicators.