Increase in key Research and Development indicators for expenditure and personnel in Greece

The country’s R&D expenditures have shown an upward trend in recent years. In 2015 R&D expenditures amounted to 1.64 billion euro compared to 1.49 billion in 2014 and 1.39 billion in 2011.

0.96% of GDP is the figure for Research and Development (R&D) intensity ( 2015 according to the National Documentation Centre’s (EKT) official preliminary data for Eurostat, and is a substantial increase on that of previous years. The publication of the data is part of the regular production and publication of official statistics for Research, Development and Innovation in Greece carried out by EKT in co-operation with the Hellenic Statistical Authority.

The country’s R&D expenditures have shown an upward trend in recent years. In 2015 R&D expenditures amounted to 1.64 billion euro compared to 1.49 billion in 2014 and 1.39 billion in 2011. The 2015 ‘R&D Intensity’, (R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP) is 0.96%, rising from 0.84% in 2014 and 0.67% in 2011, almost touching 1% for the first time in Greece.

The largest contributor to  R&D is the higher education sector, with R&D expenditures of 643.8 million euro (0.37% of GDP). For the business sector, the amount was 561.4 million euro (0.32% of GDP), while the government sector spent 464.5 million euro (0.26% of GDP). The private-non-profit organisations contributed the least (13.2 million euro, 0.1 of GDP).

Government funding remains the main source of R&D funding. In 2015 this funding came to 887.3 million euro, an overall share of 52.7%. Government funding (mainly individual sources: ordinary budget and funding from EU Structural Funds (ESPA)) supports R&D activities performed in all sectors of R&D and is the main source of funding for the Higher Education and Government sectors.

As a key player in state funding, ESPA’s contribution rose from 124.7 million euro in 2011 to 308.1 million euro in 2014 reaching 385.8 million euro in 2015. This increase offset the reduction of the ordinary budget which was a result of fiscal adjustments from 2011. In 2015 ESPA funds accounted for 43.5% of state funding, as opposed to 18.2% in 2011.

The second biggest source of funding is the business sector, providing funds of 534.8 million euro (31.8%) for the country’s R&D activities. Most of the funds, 462.1 million euro, was invested in business R&D, while the remainder went to R&D activities performed in the higher education sector (21.6 million euro), the government sector (48.8 million euro) and private non-profit sector (2.4 million euro).

The European Union is the third source of funding, providing 169.5 million euro (10.1% of total), a fact that indicates how high the competitiveness of Greek organisations to win European research projects is. 

Greece is now in 16th place as far as R&D expenditures are concerned and 22nd place for R&D Intensity, among EU member states.

A further effect of the substantial increase in R&D expenditures is engagement in R&D activities. In 2015, the number of Full-Time Equivalents (FTE) -which represents  the ‘positions’ of full-time employment where one FTE is equivalent to a full-time employee- increased by approximately 17% compared to 2014, for both total R&D personnel and researchers. The total number of R&D personnel in 2015 came to 50,512.2 FTE and for researchers was 35,068.7 FTE. The biggest increase was in the higher education sector.

The aforementioned preliminary data for R&D expenditures and personnel in Greece in 2015, which can be found in the publication entitled ‘Basic R&D Indicators for expenditures and personnel in Greece 2015’ ( are expected to be finalised by June 2017 ( European Regulation 995/2012).

Statistical data and indicators for Research, Development and Innovation in Greece, which are regularly produced and published by EKT, are transmitted to Eurostat and the OECD. Analysis of data and relevant indicators are published in printed and electronic publications of EKT.

Tags: R&D, Eurostat