EU member states spent almost 283 billion euros on research and development (R&D), representing 2.03% of GDP, said Eurostat on Monday. In Belgium R&D spending relative to total expenditures was 2.46% of GDP in 2014, just above the average.
Though the European percentage of GDP allocated to research has risen from 1.76 to 2.03 in the last 10 years, it remains far below levels reached in South Korea (4.15% in 2013) or Japan (3.47% in 2013), or even in the United States (2.81% in 2012). Increasing spending on R&D is one of five key goals in the Europe2020 strategy, in order to improve EU competitiveness.
The corporate sector led the way with R&D expenditure representing 64% of all R&D expenditure in the period, followed by the higher education sector (23%), the general government sector (12%) and that of private NGOs (1%).
In Belgium, R&D spending went from 1.81% in 2004 to 2.64% last year, which in absolute terms represents 9.875 billion euros compared to 5.404 billion 10 years ago. Only Germany and Austria posted higher rates.