Dutch private sector average performer in R&D in Europe

07/04/2009 15:00

Only a small number of people in the Dutch labour force are engaged in R&D activities. The private sector spent 49 thousand labour years (1.1 percent) on R&D in 2007, thus approximating the European average. More elaborate data on R&D and innovation can be accessed in the publication Knowledge and economy 2008.

Labour years R&D

Labour years R&D

R&D prominent in Finland

With 2.4 percent, the Finnish private sector spends the largest proportion of labour years spent on R&D, more than twice as much as the Netherlands. Neighbouring countries Belgium and Germany also put more emphasis on R&D activities than the Netherlands.

R&D mainly in manufacturing industry

R&D is mainly confined to manufacturing industry: nearly two thirds of R&D labour years in 2007 were realised in this sector. The sector services accounted for approximately one third. The sector services is much more important for the Dutch economy than the sector manufacturing industry. This partly explains why the level of R&D activities is not so high in the Dutch private sector.

The phrase R&D refers to development of new knowledge. Innovation is defined as implementation of new knowledge. In the Netherlands, the sector services implements new knowledge on a systematic basis and is therefore more innovative than the sector manufacturing industry.

Distribution of labour years R&D by sector and company size, 2007

Distribution of labour years R&D by sector and company size, 2007

R&D important in large companies

Large companies (employing 250 or more people) account for about two thirds of labour years spent on R&D. Only 13 percent of small companies (employing 10 to 50 persons) were engaged in R&D activities.

Vincent Fructuoso van der Veen