According to official data published by the National Documentation Centre (EKT), Greek Research & Development (R&D) expenditure reached 1.01% of GDP in 2016, a percentage that surpassed the 1% threshold for the first time ever (http://metrics.ekt.gr/el/node/352). On absolute terms, R&D expenditure continued its upward trend in 2016 and amounted to 1,745.2 million euro, an increase of 50.4 million euro compared with 2015.
The ‘R&D Intensity’ indicator (R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP) was 1.01% of GDP in 2016, up from 0.97% in 2015. This percentage positions Greece 19th among the EU28, three places higher than in 2015 and for the first time approaching the percentages of countries such as Ireland and Spain.
A significant increase in R&D expenditure was recorded for the business sector (BES) reaching 740.4 million euro. This is an increase of 178.8 million euro (+31.8%) in comparison with 2015. Importantly, for the first time, BES made the biggest contribution to the ‘R&D Intensity’ indicator (0.43% of GDP). BES was followed by the higher education sector (HES) with expenditures of 569.4 million euro (0.32% of GDP) and that of the public sector (GOV) at 479.4 million euro (0.25% of GDP). The private non-profit institutions sector (PNP) contributed the least (15.6 million euro, 0.01% of GDP).
Sources of funding
Public funding remained the main source of funding for 2016 at 746.8 million euros which represented 42.6% of the total. Public funding supported R&D activities in all sectors and was the main source of funding for both HES and GOV. An increase in funds allocated from the ordinary budget (up by 104.8 million euros compared with 2015) and the national share of the Public Investment Programme (up by 24.4 million euros compared to 2015) is noted. The contribution of the NSRF 2014-2020 to R&D funding in 2016 was significantly lower, down by 287.5 million euro compared with 2015, the concluding year of the previous NSRF 2007-2013.
A significant increase was recorded for the second largest funding source, the business sector, which provided funds of 705.5 million euros (40.2% of the total) for R&D activities in the country. The largest share, 648.5 million euros was invested in R&D performed by the businesses themselves, while the remainder funded R&D activities in the higher education sector (40.8 million euros), the public sector (14.1 million euros) and private non-profit institutions (2.2 million euros).
The third main source of funding, the European Union, has increased during recent years due to the implementation of Horizon 2020, the current EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. In 2016, the EU funded research projects in all sectors, providing 208.5 million euro (12.0% of the total), indicating the high level of competitiveness of Greek organisations.
In terms of R&D personnel, despite increased R&D expenditures, employment lagged behind. The Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for R&D personnel in total and researchers decreased in relation to 2015. In 2016, the figure for all R&D personnel was 41,789.8 FTE and for researchers was 29,403 FTE.
The R&D employment intensity indicator was 1.16%. This is lower than the European average (1.34%), thus positioning Greece in the 16th position among the EU28. The corresponding figure for researchers is 0.81%, nearing the European average (0.86%) and posiioning Greece in the 14th place.
Note on National Documentation Centre
EKT is a National Statistical Authority, member of the Greek Statistical System and is responsible for the production and publication of the official statistics for Research, Development and Innovation in Greece (http://metrics.ekt.gr/en). RDI statistics and indicators are then transmitted on a regular basis to Eurostat as well as the OECD. Analysis of relevant indicators are published in printed and electronic forms by EKT and are made available online.