New EKT publication on the performance of the Greek Regions in Research, Development & Innovation activities

The new publication presents analytical data and indicators on expenditure and personnel in research & development, scientific publications and participation in EU’s H2020, as well as innovation in businesses.

A comprehensive picture of the performance of the Greek Regions in Research, Development and Innovation is presented in the new publication of the National Documentation Centre (EKT) ‘Research, Development & Innovation in Greek Regions 2021‘ (in Greek).

The significance and special weight of this publication is related to the fact that these specific areas are considered to be critical for regional development. For the purposes of the publication the latest data from the official European and national statistics of EKT are collected and analysed, at regional level , providing a combining picture of Greek Regions’ performance on knowledge-intensive activities, as reflected in data on Research & Development expenditure and personnel, scientific publications, doctoral dissertations, participation in EU’s H2020 Programmeand innovation in Greek enterprises. The data are presented on whole for the country, but also individually for each Region.

As the Director of EKT, Dr. Evi Sachini, stressed, ‘ the production of new knowledge - through research - and its exploitation in real economy and production - through the promotion innovation - is vital to enhance -on the one hand- competitiveness and on the other to address socio-economic challenges of our time. Prolonged gaps in performance between regions in the areas of research and innovation widen economic and growth gaps, increasing the risk of a ‘poverty trap’, and overwhelming less-favoured regions. EKT’s publication, the second in this particular series, seeks to fuel the highly relevant debate on the importance of achieving knowledge-based regional development, within the context that is formed by  the launch of the new NSRF 2021-2027.'

According to data presented in this publication, all indicators for all regions achieve an increasing trend across time. The indicators refer to four thematic pillars: a) the Research & Development activities, as they are reflected through R&D expenditures in each Region, b) human resources that contribute to R&D activities, c) the performance of Regions’ research-active entities in competitive European projects, in scientific publications and doctoral dissertations, which indicate international performance, scientific excellence, as well as areas of scientific and technological specialisation of the Regions, d) the innovative performance of enterprises within the Regions.

Some interesting findings reflected in EKT's publication include:

R&D expenditure: R&D intensity, i.e. R&D expenditure as a percentage (%) of GDP, which is the most basic indicator of the importance that a country or region attaches to this activity. According to publication, in terms of R&D intensity in 2019, the Regions of Attica (1.63%), Crete (1.51%), Epirus (1.47%) and Western Greece (1.40%) exceed the national average (1.28%).

R&D statistics are analysed in 4 areas of R&D activities (BES - Business Sector, GOV - Government Sector, HES - Higher Education Sector, PNP - Private Non Profit Sector). In this context, according to data on R&D expenditure, the business sector carries out most of the R&D in the Region of Attica, the Region of Central Greece and the Region of the Peloponnese. In all other Regions the highest share is claimed either by the higher education sector (in the case of the Regions of Central Macedonia, Western Greece, Thessaly, Epirus, Eastern Macedonia-Thrace, North Aegean, Western Macedonia, the Ionian Islands), or  by the government sector (Regions of Crete, and South Aegean).

R&D personnel: In terms of employment of R&D personnel, ie researchers (scientists, engineers, PhD holders, etc.) and other personnel (such as technicians, programmers, administrators, etc.), most are located in the Region of Attica, followed by the Region of Central Macedonia and the Region of Crete. In the indicator 'Percentage (%) of R&D personnel in the economically active population (labour force)' –that is included in the monitoring indicators of 'Objective 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure' of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals- the highest performance in 2019 is recorded in the Region of Attica (1.56%), followed by the Region of Western Greece (1.38%), the Region of Crete (1.37%), and the Region of Epirus (1.24%), percentages, which are higher than the average national performance (1.18%).

Scientific excellence and extroversion: Data on participation of Greek institutes and research active entities in research projects in the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission for research & innovation, constitute not only a safe indicator of robust extroversion of the regions, but also a potential indicator of scientific excellence. The majority of the participations in Horizon 2020 during the period 2014-2020 are located in the Region of Attica (3,221 participations), which received funding of over 978 million euros, about 60% of the total Community funding of the country. It is followed by the Region of Central Macedonia with 949 participations and 324 million euros and the Region of Crete with 490 participations and 171 million euros.

Research production in doctoral dissertations and scientific publications is linked to scientific specialisation and excellence of the regions. The largest number of doctoral dissertations was attributed to the Region of Attica (2,889 during the period 2016-2019) and the Region of Central Macedonia (1,318 during the period 2016-2019). Regarding scientific publications, during the period 2014-2018, the publications of institutes of the Region of Crete achieve the highest impact index (10.68), followed by publications of entities from the Regions of Epirus (10.60), North and South Aegean (10, 06), Western Macedonia (9.63), Attica (9.41), Central Macedonia (8.89), Peloponnese (8.29), Central Greece (7.70), Western Greece (7.64), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (6.47), Thessaly (6.37), and the Ionian Islands (3.96).

Business Innovation: Overall, Greek enterprises seem to achieve remarkable performance in the field of innovation, as enterprises in almost all Regions have some type of innovation, at a rate higher than 50%. The highest performances - exceeding the average national performance - are recorded in the Region of Central Macedonia (62.6%), in the Region of Attica (61.6%) and in the Region of Crete (60.8%).

The publication 'Research, Development & Innovation in the Greek Regions - 2021 Edition' is available at:

EKT is the competent National Authority of the Hellenic Statistical System for the European statistics for Research, Development and Innovation in Greece and the national statistics in the fields of science & technology and the digital economy. It operates the Mechanism for official statistical information and monitoring of public policies. EKT is the source for data of the national and the respective regional Smart Specialisation strategies RIS3, the NSRF and the Regional Operational Programmes, producing and publishing the relevant indicators at and

The publication 'Research, Development & Innovation in the Greek Regions - 2021 Edition' was produced within the framework of Sub-Project 5 'Production of RIS3 indicators for the years 2016-2023' under the Operation 'Installation of a Monitoring Mechanism for the implementation of the national strategy RIS3-Collection and processing of Indicators', implemented by the National Documentation Centre as part of the Operational Programme 'Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship & Innovation (NSRF 2014-2020) ' co-financed by Greece and the European Union-European Regional Development Fund.