- In 2020, the Netherlands spent 2.32% of GDP on R&D.
- Total R&D expenditure in the Netherlands is below the average of the OECD countries, but above the EU average.
- R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP is lower in the Netherlands than in a number of countries with which the Netherlands wants to compare itself.
R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP
The amount of money spent on research and development (R&D expenditure) is important information for national and international policymakers. Statistics on R&D expenditure are used to see who carries out R&D, who finances R&D and where R&D takes place. Nominal total R&D spending in the Netherlands increased between 2013 and 2020 from € 14.2 billion to € 18.4 billion (CBS Statline). To compare the level of R&D spending over several years and between countries, we express R&D spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). This is also referred to as R&D intensity. In this way, the comparison takes into account the development of the size of the economy over time and differences between countries in the size of the total economy.
National and international policymakers and politicians need to know how much money is spent on R&D. Spending statistics are particularly useful for revealing who is performing R&D and where, and who is funding it. The total nominal R&D expenditure in the Netherlands increased between 2013 and 2020, from € 14.2 billion to € 18.4 billion (CBS Statline). To enable comparison of R&D-expenditure over time and between countries, we express the R&D expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). This is also called the R&D intensity. In this way, the comparison takes into account economic growth over time as well as differences between countries in the size of their economies.
R&D as percentage of GDP
The figure below shows developments in the total expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP, in the Netherlands, the EU and OECD-countries (on average). This figure is also used to measure whether the Netherlands reaches the internationally agreed R&D-percentage of 2,5% GDP. The data collection and analysis is based on international agreements published in the Frascati Manual, concerning R&D-related definitions and which types of expenditure are included and which not. In the national R&D statistics, as included in the graph below, business R&D expenditure is surveyed amongst companies. The companies include all their expenditures on R&D, including the expenditures for which they are compensated by fiscal measures (such as WBSO/RDA). Hence the foregone tax income due to these fiscal measures is not separately added to the R&D expenditures, otherwise there would be double-counting. In line with international R&D statistics, the Innovation Box (which resembles so called 'patent boxes') is not included in fiscal support for R&D and innovation. This is due to the fact that it does not lower the cost of R&D-expenditure, but rather lowers the tariff for tax paid over profits relating to R&D and innovation activities (see Frascati Manual 2015, p. 346).
Between 2013 and 2020, R&D intensity in the Netherlands has been below the OECD average, but above that of the EU-27. In 2020, the Netherlands spent 2.29% of its GDP on R&D. This percentage is relatively stable over 2013-2019. The increase in 2020 is not only due to an increase in spending, but also to a declining GDP as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
R&D expenditure by performing sector
The figure below shows how much R&D is performed by various sectors in a number of countries, expressed as a percentage of GDP. There is great variation in terms of R&D intensity. There are also differences in the degree of R&D intensity in different sectors. This reflects the structural differences between countries in the way R&D-performance is organised. Another conclusion is that the R&D intensity of the Netherlands is lower than that of a number of countries with which it likes to compare itself.
|Research institutes||Higher education||Industry|
In 2020, corporate spending on R&D in the Netherlands is equivalent to 1.53% of GDP, above the EU-27 average, but below the OECD average.
R&D expenditure by funding source
In 2020, over half of the total € 18.4 billion R&D performed in the Netherlands is funded by business (€ 10.5 billion). A third is funded by government (€5.6 billion). The rest comes from other national funding sources (private non-profit) and from abroad.
Development of R&D funded by business
The indicator shows the size of R&D funding by the business sector, expressed as a percentage of GDP. There are differences between countries in terms of the R&D intensity of business funding. Dutch business funding is below OECD level, but above EU-27. Our data publication on R&D-expenditure by source of funds shows that it is also below that of most reference countries.
Development of R&D funded by government
The figure below shows the development is government funded R&D, as percentage of GDP. Government funding for R&D is just above the EU and OECD-averages. The data publication about R&D expenditure funded by the government and business enterprises shows that there are considerable differences between countries in terms of government funded R&D intensity.
Business funding of R&D at public knowledge institutions
Public knowledge institutions (HE institutions and public research institutions) receive funding from various sources. The government is the main source, but part of their funding also comes from industry.
The figure below shows the extent to which R&D activities at public knowledge institutions are funded by industry. The proportion of private funding at public knowledge institutions is slightly higher in the Netherlands than in other countries. Our data publication on privately funded R&D-expenditure in the public sector shows that private funding is for the public research institutions and higher education around 8%.
The OECD Frascati Manual (2015) is the universally recognised standard method for gathering and reporting internationally comparable statistics on the financial and staffing resources involved in research and experimental development, better known as R&D. The Frascati Manual provides the basis for a common language for debates about R&D and its results.
The MSTI database provides a set of indicators based on data collection by the OECD countries and seven non-OECD countries based on the Frascati Manual. The indicators show the level and structure of science and technology performance from 1981 onwards. The indicators in the database are related to inputs (finance, human resources) for R&D, patents, technological balance of payments and the international trade in R&D-intensive industries.
Statistics Netherlands, presents data on R&D by performing sector and funding source on Statline. In 2019, Statistics Netherlands brought the Dutch R&D-statistics into line with the international guidelines as written down in the Frascati manual (2015). This revision has been passed through as of 2013.
For an explanation of the used definitions and abbreviations we refer to the webpage Definitions for Science in Figures.
- R&D expenditure in the Netherlands by sector of performance
- R&D expenditure by sector of performance, as a % of GDP (international)
- R&D expenditure, funded by the government and companies, as a % of GDP
- Government support for R&D, in % of GDP
- R&D expenditure in the public sector, privately funded, in %
- R&D expenditure and capacity by field of science