Research & Development Expenditures in 2019 in Greece rises to 1.27% of GDP

R&D expenditure and personnel increased according to preliminary data published by EKT.

Research & Development (R&D) expenditures amounted to 1.27% of GDP in 2019 according to preliminary data published by the National Documentation Centre  (EKT), as the competent National Authority of the Hellenic Statistical System for European Research & Development statistics.

Continuing the upward trend of recent years, in 2019 expenditures for R&D activities, which amounted to 2,336.58 million euros, increased by 157.27 million euros, an increase of 7.2% compared to 2018.

The R&D Intensity Index, which expresses R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP, increased by 0.06 percentage points. The index in 2019 was 1.27%, increasing from 1.21% in 2018, due to the increase in R&D expenditure and the retrospective revision of GDP in Greece for the years after 2010 according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority. Greece ranks 16th among EU countries, higher than countries such as Spain, Luxembourg and Ireland.

The results of EKT's Statistical Survey, conducted in 2020 on organisations classified into four sectors: business (BES), higher education (HES), public sector (GOV) and private non-profit institutions (PNPs), are available at

The business sector made the largest contribution to national R&D expenditure. In 2019, businesses had R&D expenditures amounting to 1,073.22 million euros (0.59% of GDP), an increase of 2.3% compared to 2018.

A significant increase in R&D expenditure is recorded in the higher education sector, where expenditure amounted to 716.55 million euros (0.39% of GDP), an increase of 15.8% compared to 2018.

An increase in R&D expenditures was also recorded in the public sector, where expenditures amounted to 527.06 million euros (0.28% of GDP), showing an increase of 8.0% compared to 2018. The sector of private non-profit institutions made a smaller contribution (EUR 19.75 million, 0.01% of GDP).

In terms of sources of funds for R&D expenditure (2019), an amount of 972.61 million euros (41.6% of the total), came from businesses. Most of the business funds, € 896.78 million, was invested in R&D activities carried out by the businesses themselves. The rest of the funds was in R&D activities in higher education (€ 56.35 million), the public sector (€ 17.24 million) and in private non-profit institutions (€ 2.24 million)

The government is the second source of funds with 949.58 million euros (40.6% of the total). Government funds include the ordinary budget, the national component of the Public Investment Budget and the NSRF 2014-2020.

There was a significant increase in the R&D expenditures funded by the NSRF. More specifically, the NSRF funds for R&D activities amounted to 182.72 million euros (increase of 22.1%) and covered R&D in all sectors: businesses (49.92 million euros), the higher education sector (68.75 million). the public sector (€ 63.21 million) and the private non-profit sector (€ 0.84 million).

R&D funds of the ordinary budget also increased. R&D expenditures of 668.61 million euros were funded in the higher education sector (360.54 million euros) and the government sector (308.07 million euros).

The European Union, the third largest source of R&D funds, with EUR 269.75 million (11.5% of the total), also recorded an increase in 2019. The EU funded research projects in all sectors, businesses (81, EUR 27 million), the higher education sector (EUR 114.61 million), the public sector (EUR 70.62 million) and the private non-profit sector (EUR 3.25 million).

The significant increase in R&D expenditure in 2019 resulted in an increase in employment in R&D activities. Compared to 2018, the number of Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs), increased by 6.9% for the total number of R&D personnel and by 9.3% for researchers. The total number of personnel in R&D in 2019 amounted to 54,833 full-time (FTE) positions with 40,084 FTE researchers. The largest increase was recorded in the higher education sector.

The Research & Development statistics and indicators for Greece, produced and published by EKT, are transmitted to Eurostat and the OECD for use in international rankings, studies and policy-making. Analysis of the data and the export of the relevant indicators are published in electronic versions by EKT available on the website

The survey on  R&D expenses & personnel for 2019 was carried out within the framework of the project 'Production of RIS3 Indicators for the years 2016-2023', of the Action 'Monitoring Mechanism of the implementation of RIS3 national strategy - Collection and Processing of Indicators', carried out by the National Documentation Centre, under the Operational Programme 'Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship & Innovation (NSRF 2014-2020), co-funded by Greece and the European Union-European Regional Development Fund.