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R&D Investment and Performance around the world – a European Commision report


European Research and development KPIs

The Science, Technology and Competitiveness key figures report 2008/2009, released by the European Commission, presents a thorough analysis and overview of the evolution of  R&D investment and performance in Europe. The report is considered an attempt to monitor the progress and efficiency of implementing performance measures by the European research system.

Research is considered a key competitive asset in a global world as science, technology and patent applications are more widely distributed every year. Between 2000 and 2006 the investment in R&D increased in Europe by 14,8%, comparable with the US and Japan, where figures show a growth of 10.1 % and 21.9 % respectively.

research and development KPI

The analysis of the participation shares in global R&D indicates that almost 80 % of researchers work outside the EU, 75 % of gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) is executed in other world regions, and 69 % of patent applications are made outside the EU. This indicates a declining world share of GERD and patent applications, both for the US and for the European Union (European Commission, 2008).

research and development KPIs

The main conclusions of the report are:

  • Despite encouraging progress on increasing the amount of investment in R&D, the R&D intensity of EU-27 has remained unchanged, as countries with increasing R&D intensities do not have very high shares of EU-27 GDP.
  • Higher returns for private investment in R&D favor structural change, such as high-growth SMEs and higher demand and a single market for research-intensive products (European Commission, 2008).
  • European Research Area (ERA) integration is a key competitive factor for increasing the effectiveness of the European research system, due to its cost-effectiveness and framework conditions attractiveness.

The Key Performance Indicators used within this report are:

  • % R&D intensity (GERD as a % of GDP)
  • % Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD – % Real Growth)
  • # Patents applications
  • # Researchers

For further examples of performance indicators, explore the R&D KPI examples section of the library of KPI examples available on (, 2010).


Image Source:

  • AECM
  • European Commission, 2008
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