Press release: 12.001-067/19

Expenditure on research and development increases to 3.19% of GDP in 2019

Vienna, 2019-04-11 – Approximately €12.8 billion will be spent on research and development (R&D) in Austria in 2019, according to an estimate by Statistics Austria. Thus, the R&D intensity – R&D expenditure as a percentage of the nominal gross domestic product (GDP) – increases from 3.17% in 2018 to 3.19%.

The nominal increase of the total Austrian R&D expenditure from 2018 to 2019 is estimated to be 4.5%. Thus, it is higher than the forecasted rise of the gross national product of 3.8%. Since 2014, the Austrian R&D intensity has been above the 3% target set by the EU for 2020, but below the Austrian target of 3.76%. In the past two decades, domestic expenditure on research and development has risen sharply: In 2009, the research intensity reached 2.60%; 20 years ago, it was 1.85%.

In 2019, domestic enterprises are expected to spend around €6.3 billion on research and will therefore finance almost half of the overall R&D expenditures (49.0%). The public sector will be responsible for around €4.5 billion of the total R&D expenditure, which accounts for 34.9% of total R&D expenditure; the federal government with almost €3.8 billion (29.6%) will be by far the most important funding source. R&D funding of the federal government also includes reimbursements via the research premium, which are estimated to an amount of €670 million by the Federal Ministry of Finance for 2019. The increase of public R&D funding (+3.6% compared to 2018) will be slightly below the rise of the gross national product. Around €547 million will be financed by the regional governments ("Bundesländer"), further public institutions – such as local governments, professional chambers, or social security institutions – will contribute €132 million. Financing from abroad will still be an important source for the domestic R&D expenditures: €2 billion is expected to flow into Austria, mainly from multinational enterprises whose affiliates do research in Austria. The R&D funding by the private non-profit sector will amount to around €77 million.

Only Sweden reached a higher R&D intensity

The comparison among EU countries for 2017 (the latest year for which comparable data are available) discloses that Austria had the second largest research intensity among the EU-28. Only in Sweden the research intensity is considerably higher (3.40%). Denmark (3.05%) and Germany (3.02%) are the other countries which have already reached the EU target of 3%. The only remaining countries whose R&D intensity surpasses the EU average of 2.06% are Finland (2.76%), Belgium (2.58%) and France (2.19%).

Some comparable countries of importance have considerably higher R&D expenditures than the EU. Among the European non-EU countries, Switzerland reaches an extremely high figure (3.37% in 2015); research intensities for Iceland and Norway were above the EU average as well (2.10% resp. 2.09%). Among large non-European economies, the R&D expenses in South Korea are more than twice as high than in the European Union (4.55%). Also Japan (3.20%) and the USA (2.79%) reach significantly higher research intensities. Since 2015, the research intensity of China lies above the result for the EU-28, too – in 2017, it reached 2.13% (EU: 2.06%).

In this estimate of the Austrian Gross Domestic Expenditures on R&D, 2019 budget appropriations and final outlays of the federal government and the regional governments, latest macro-economic forecasts and preliminary results from the R&D survey in the business enterprise sector in 2017 were taken into account.

For more detailed results and further information concerning statistics on research and development please refer to our website.

Information on methods, definitions: Statistics Austria annually carries out the global estimate of Austrian gross domestic expenditure on R&D, based on results from the R&D surveys as well as other current documents and information, particularly the R&D-relevant budget appropriations and final outlays of the federal government ("Bund"), the regional governments ("Bundesländer"), and latest macro-economic forecasts. In the framework of the annual compilation of the global estimate, retrospective revisions and updates are made simultaneously based on latest data. Data up to 2015 are based on the R&D surveys carried out every two years; R&D data from 2016 onwards are to be considered as preliminary.    
The funding of the expenditures for R&D performed in Austria is presented in line with the definitions of the Frascati Manual of the OECD. In accordance with its guidelines, national payments for R&D performed abroad are excluded. In this presentation, reimbursements from the research premium as an R&D tax incentive are classified as public funding in order to enable comparability over time.

For further inquiries please contact Directorate Social Statistics, Statistics Austria:  
Gerhard WALLNER, Tel. +43 (1) 71128-7200 resp. gerhard.wallner@statistik.gv.at and 
Andreas SCHIEFER, Tel. +43 (1) 71128-7162 resp. andreas.schiefer@statistik.gv.at

Gross domestic expenditure on R&D in Austria, 1999 to 2019
Reference yearGross domestic expenditure on R&D
in million euroas percentage of GDP
19993 761.801.85
20004 028.671.89
20014 393.091.99
20024 684.312.07
20035 041.982.17
20045 249.552.17
20056 029.812.37
20066 318.592.36
20076 867.822.42
20087 548.062.57
20097 479.752.60
20108 066.442.73
20118 276.342.67
20129 287.842.91
20139 571.282.95
201410 275.183.08
201510 499.153.05
201611 135.563.13
201711 518.523.11
201812 246.013.17
201912 799.703.19

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STATISTICS AUSTRIA, Federal Institution under Public Law 
Editorial office: Beatrix Tomaschek 
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