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Austria as European Innovation Leader

September 14, 2009

Austria ranks third in R&D spending by percentage of GDP according to the EU’s Innovation Scoreboard

In the spring of 2002, the Barcelona European Council determined that the European Union’s (EU) total spending on research and development (R&D) and innovation should be increased to 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2010, with two-thirds of the total volume of new investments to be financed by the private sector.

Austria is one of the few countries set to reach this target. It has already achieved the goal of two-thirds private sector financing. At 2.56% of GDP, Austria follows only Sweden and Finland in relative R&D spending. Germany, France and the UK lead in absolute R&D spending, but are closer to the EU average of 1.85% of GDP.

Austrian industry doubled its R&D expenditures over the past ten years and currently draws 20% of its R&D spending from research contracts from abroad, most of them placed by foreign multinational corporations to thier Austrian subsidiaries. The significant increase in research funding is not limited to a few high-technology fields, but comprises almost all sectors of the economy. Overall, out of 25 EU member states, Austria ranks in 4th place for knowledge creation and 5th in innovation performance.

The Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) offers more information.