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European Commission > Investing in European Research > 2005 - Key Figures

2005 - Key Figures

The Key Figures 2005 take a detailed look at the most important aspects of EU research and innovation investment and performance. Theydraw an overview of the progress achieved towards the 3% objective and highlight the need for Europe to strengthen its research and innovation capacities.

Part I of the report analyzes the recent progress made in Europe towards the knowledge-based economy in the global macro-economic context

Part II of the report reviews the investments in research, human resources and education

Part III of the report deals with the performance of the EU’s research and innovation systems - examining indicators such a scientific publications and patents. High-tech trade, productivity and value added at the sector level are also analyzed

The Key Figures 2005 undeniably point the finger to the worrying trend of R&D investment in Europe. The growth rate of R&D intensity has been declining since 2000 and is now close to zero. Growth of R&D investment as a % of GDP has been slowing down. From 2002 to 2003, only an increase of 0.2% has been achieved.

Europe devotes a much lower share of its wealth to R&D, compared to the US, China and Japan: 1.93% of GDP in the EU in 2003, as compared to 2.59% in the US and 3.15% in Japan.

As for China, which registers a lower R&D intensity than Europe (1.31%), but with a 10% increase between 1997 and 2002, it will reach by 2010 the same R&D intensity as Europe (about 2.2%).

One of the reasons of this worrying trend is business funding of R&D. One of the most worrying conclusions of the Key Figures 2005 is that Europe is becoming a less attractive place to carry out research activities.

These trends are even more distressing in the perspective of the Lisbon Strategy. A recent impact assessment of the Commission has shown that investment in R&D has a positive effect on productivity and economic growth.

If Europe is to become an integrated research area where the best research is to be carried out, there must be a substantial and wide-ranging European level programme, as proposed by the Commission in April 2005. Or else, Europe will remain a series of national programmes, with little coherence. Enterprises will keep relocating their research and innovation activities outside Europe, with a terrible loss in growth and competitiveness.

Relevant document:

Key Figures 2005 (Catalogue#: KI-NA-21264-EN-C) English [ 1.06 Mb]
Potocnik’s speech

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