The Malta Independent 8 December 2019, Sunday

R&D expenditure totals €7.2m, less than 1% of GDP – NSO

Thursday, 18 July 2019, 11:23 Last update: about 6 months ago

During 2017, an increase of €7.2 million was registered in total expenditure on R&D activities, equivalent to 12.3 per cent, the NSO said today.

The Business Enterprise sector contributed 65.3 per cent to total R&D, whereas the Higher Education and Government sectors contributed 33.8 and 0.9 per cent respectively. Primarily the R&D expenditure is dedicated to Basic Research, with a 52.1 per cent of total R&D in 2017, followed by Applied Research (32.6 per cent) and Experimental Development (15.3 per cent). 

In 2017, both the Business Enterprise sector and the Higher Education Sector reported an increase in R&D expenditure compared to 2016. The higher R&D expenditure was triggered by higher outlays on recurrent expenditure of €7.6 and €2.8 million respectively. Capital expenditure for these two sectors dropped by €0.9 and €2.1 million respectively. The Government sector registered a drop of €0.2 million, primarily in recurrent expenditure.

Labour costs represented 72.2 per cent of total R&D expenditure, followed by recurrent expenditure (20.7 per cent) and capital projects (7.1 per cent). In 2017, the highest rate of R&D activity was recorded in Engineering and Technology which accounted for 45.7 per cent of total expenditure, followed by Natural Sciences (22.0 per cent) and Medical Sciences (16.0 per cent). Year-on-year comparisons show that the highest increase was registered in Natural Sciences €3.7 million followed by Medical Sciences €3.4 million.

The majority of R&D activity in Engineering and Technology and Natural Sciences was undertaken in business enterprises whereas research in relation to Medical and Social Sciences was mainly carried out by the Higher Education sector. Each sector mostly funds its own research, supplemented by foreign funds, mainly local business enterprise funds for the Business Enterprise sector, general university funds for the Higher Education sector and EU funds or Direct Government funds for the Government sector. Foreign funds for R&D reached €7.1 million, or 10.8 per cent of total funds.

R&D Employment In 2017, 2,479 employees were engaged in R&D work, of who 1,451 dedicated part of their time to R&D. The highest R&D employment rate was registered in the Higher Education sector, at 1,280 employees, followed by the Business Enterprise sector, with 1,117 employees. Male employment was predominant among researchers and technicians, while females led the support staff  category. Females accounted for 34.7 per cent of total R&D employment. With regard to employment by major fi eld of science, in 2017 the highest employment activity in R&D was recorded in Engineering and Technology with 806 employees, followed by Natural Sciences and Social Sciences, with 607 and 450 employees respectively.

GBARD In 2018, the highest outlays of Government budget allocations for R&D (GBARD) were recorded in the socio-economic activities related to Health (€6.0 million), Culture, recreation, religion and media (€4.4 million), Political and social systems, structures and processes and Industrial production and technology (both €4.1 million). Compared to 2017, GBARD increased by €3.8 million.

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