Netherlands drifting further behind in R&D

18/01/2011 15:00

In 2009, the Dutch public sector spent 0.88 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), i.e. the total value of all goods and services produced in the Netherlands, on R&D. The average for the EU 27 was 1.25 percent. The gap between R&D expenditure in the Netherlands and the EU 27 has widened in recent years.

Less spent on R&D in 2009

In most reference countries, the public sector spent less on R&D activities in 2009 than in 2008. The decline in the Netherlands is in line with the GDP decline. In 2008, the Dutch pubic sector also spent 0.88 percent of the GDP on R&D, but R&D expenditure in the EU 27 was reduced less rapidly in 2009 than the GDP. As a result, R&D expenditure in the EU 27 increased somewhat proportionally.

Save a few exceptions, the gap between the EU 27 and the Netherlands has widened since 2000. This is because the services sector has grown considerably in the Netherlands in recent years, but is less R&D-intensive than the sector manufacturing industry. 

R&D expenditure public sector

RD expenditure public sector

Netherlands at the bottom of the international list

The Netherlands was one of the very few countries to spend less on R&D in absolute terms in 2009 than in 2006, the year prior to the financial crisis. This also applied to Sweden and the United Kingdom, but in the United Kingdom the GDP declined more than R&D expenditure. As a result, R&D expenditure expressed as a percentage of the GDP grew.

Other, larger European countries like Germany and France spent about the same on R&D in 2009 as in 2008. Spending on R&D was appreciably higher than in 2006. Within the group of reference countries, the Netherlands – just like in 2006 – was dangling at the bottom of the list.

R&D expenditure public sector in the reference countries, 2009

RD expenditure public sector in the reference countries, 2009

Andries Kuipers