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Statistics Explained, your guide to European statistics. Statistics Explained is an official Eurostat website presenting statistical topics in an easily understandable way. Together, the articles make up an encyclopedia of European statistics for everyone, completed by a statistical glossary clarifying all terms used and by numerous links to further information and the latest data and metadata, a portal for occasional and regular users.
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One of the key objectives of the EU during the last decade has been to encourage increasing levels of investment, in order to provide a stimulus to the EU’s competitiveness. The Lisbon strategy set the EU an objective of devoting 3 % of its gross domestic product (GDP) to R & D activities by 2010. The target was not reached — and subsequently the 3 % target was maintained, forming one of five key targets within the Europe 2020 strategy adopted in 2010.
Main statistical findings
Gross domestic expenditure on R & D (GERD) stood at EUR 266 898 million in the EU-28 in 2012, which was a 2.9 % increase on the year before, and 42.9 % higher than 10 years earlier (in 2002) — note that these rates of change are in current prices and so reflect price changes as well as real changes in the level of expenditure. In 2011, the level of expenditure on R & D in the EU-28 was 87.0 % of that recorded by the United States, 1.8 times as high as expenditure in Japan (in 2010) and still considerably above R & D expenditure levels recorded in some other economies — for example, EU-28 expenditure was 2.7 times as high as in China (2011).
In order to make figures more comparable, GERD is often expressed relative to GDP — see Figure 1 — or in relation to population. The ratio of GERD to GDP, one of five key Europe 2020 strategy indicators, is also known as the R & D intensity. This ratio declined modestly in the EU-28 during the period from 2002 to 2005, falling from 1.87 % to 1.82 %. From 2006 it started to climb, reaching 2.06 % in 2012, despite a small decline in 2010. Nevertheless, the EU-28’s R & D expenditure relative to GDP remained well below the corresponding ratios recorded in Japan (3.25 %, 2010 data) and the United States (2.73 %, 2011 data), as it has for a lengthy period of time.More ...