At EU level, the Member States agreed in 2002 on the Barcelona target to increase investment in scientific R&D to 3 % of national GDP (with one third of funding provided by governments and two thirds by business). The aim was to catch up with high R&D expenditure countries such as South Korea, the US and Japan. According to 2018 figures from Eurostat, most Member States’ expenditure on scientific R&D had risen in 2016 compared with 2006 – in terms of percentage of national GDP. Member States are however lagging behind compared with South Korea, the US and Japan, while being on a par with China. The highest R&D intensities among the Member States were recorded in Sweden (3.25 %) and Austria (3.09 %). These were the only two Member States to report levels of R&D intensity above the ‘Barcelona target’ of 3.00 %, followed by Germany (2.94 %), Denmark (2.87 %) and Finland 2.75 % (see Graph 1).
Gross domestic expenditure on R&D, 2006 and 2016
European Parliamentary Research Service
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