The research & development (R&D) expenditure in the region in 2016 reached €1.3b. In relation to gross domestic product, expenditure on R&D in the Basque Country stood at 1.89% of GDP in 2016, which is above Spanish average (1.19%), and below the EU average of 2.04% (Eurostat, 2019). 75.1% of the expenditure on R&D was implemented by companies in 2017, whereas 17.5% corresponded to higher education and the remaining 7.3% was carried out by the administration. These figures, compared to 2016, mean that in companies there was an increase in spending of 3.7%, whereas in higher education and administration there was an increase of 4.3% and 3% respectively (Eurostat, 2019). The Basque Government has worked, during 2014-2015, on restructuring the existing Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Network (RVCTI) for better addressing the need of becoming the specialised and technology integrated provider for the Basque business sector with a market and client-oriented approach. This network is divided into three categories: • The Science and University Subsystem that integrate the universities, the cooperative research centres (CIC) and the fundamental and excellent research centres (BERC); • The Technology Development and Innovation Subsystem that integrate the technological corporations, the sectorial centres, the international development and technology transfer centres, the certification entities and laboratories, the public research bodies, the corporate R&D units, and the healthcare R&D units; and • The Support for Innovation Subsystem that integrate the technology parks and company and innovation centres and the innovation intermediary bodies. In 2017, there were 18,481 full time equivalent employees working in R&D. In 2018, the high-tech sector recorded a total of 33.9 thousand employees, decreasing 2% when compared to 2017 (Eurostat, 2019). This represents 4.8% of the national employment in the sector and 3.7% of the total employment.
The population aged 30-34 with tertiary education has been fluctuating over the years, being at 57.1% in 2018 (Eurostat, 2019). This is higher than the national average (42.4%) and the EU average (40.7%).
Concerning broadband diffusion, 99% of the households in Basque Country have internet access at home, the same as the national average. In terms of patent registration, the region has applied 64.38 patents to the EPO per million inhabitants (2012), which is higher than the national average (27.36).