Dutch entrepreneurs spend €7.7 billion on R&D

© Hollandse Hoogte
Dutch entrepreneurs spent nearly 7.7 billion euros on Research and Development (R&D) in 2015, slightly more than in the previous year. The ten companies with the highest R&D expenditure together accounted for more than one-quarter of this amount, according to new and final figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) based on an R&D survey.

In 2015, around 20 thousand companies around the Netherlands invested in R&D to a total amount of 7.7 billion euros. More than half (59 percent) of this amount was spent by companies with a workforce of 250 employees or over.

Between 2011 and 2015, over half of the total expenditure on R&D activities was on account of these large companies. For several years now, the ten largest companies have represented one-quarter of all R&D expenditure. These are almost exclusively manufacturing companies. R&D expenditure in the private sector mainly concerned applied research and experimental development (90 percent) in 2015, as reported previously by CBS.

R&D expenditure in the private sector
 SMEsLarge enterprises (excl. top 10)Top 10 largest enterprises

In 2015, around 56 percent of all R&D expenditure in the Netherlands was on account of the private sector. Added to the combined expenditure of 6 billion euros at public institutions and in higher education, the Netherlands invested a total amount of 13.7 billion euros in R&D that year. This represents slightly over 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Over 80 thousand full-time jobs

If all R&D-related efforts by companies and their employees are calculated in working hours, Dutch companies have altogether put 81 thousand labour years into R&D. Since 2011, the private sector had not surpassed 80 thousand labour years. When including R&D activities by public institutions and higher education, R&D accounted for around 129 thousand labour years in 2015.

The labour years spent on R&D by companies are distributed slightly less unevenly than the related financial expenditure between 2011-2015. Large companies invested more than half of total R&D expenditure, but less than half (44 percent) the number of labour years. The ten largest companies accounted for nearly 16 percent of all R&D labour years against a quarter of all expenses. This is partly because these companies spent more on R&D investments such as laboratories, buildings, land and equipment.

Labour years spent on R&D by the private sector
 SMEsLarge enterprises (excl. top 10)Top 10 largest enterprises