Academic or Industrial Research and Development


Technical innovation, as an economic activity, consists in the ability of firms and institutions to generate and utilise new knowledge and equipment, to introduce new saleable products and services, as well as to improve existing ones. The introduction and adoption of new or improved products is strongly influenced by, albeit not determined exclusively by, R&D investments, which usually refer to the costs of researchers, facilities and instrumentation needed to carry out activities aimed to the increase of technical and scientific knowledge.
Public and private expenditures of this kind are considered a form of investment because they contribute to increasing the productivity of production factors and to the generation of future income flows. Aspects to be considered in order to assess the likely effects of policies on this impact area include: the level and composition of R&D expenditures, distinguished mainly according to their generic or specific purposes, which represent a necessary condition for carrying out research activities; the extent and geographic distribution of R&D plants and facilities, which are the material locus in which R&D activities are performed; the extent and mobility of researchers, that is the human capital specifically devoted to research activity; and the extent to which R&D is associated to some scientific and technological attainment, i.e. a recognisable output of research efforts, which can be adequately protected from imitation and economically exploited.

Guiding Question

Does the policy option stimulate or hinder research and development?

Relevant Policies

Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Program (CIP)

Eco-Innovation Action Plan


Please link to relevant Directorate General Contact Details.

Web Resources

Further Sources of Data

Please link to other sources of data, e.g. important reports, annual reports etc.

Further Sources of Information

Overview of European Research and Innovation activities

Eurostat Indicators

The following Eurostat Structural Indicators (Innovation and Research) are relevant to address the key question. Search the relevant tables on this website

  • Spending on Human Resources
  • Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (in % of GDP)
  • Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D by source of funds
  • Level of household Internet access
  • Science and technology graduates
  • EPO patents
  • USPTO patents
  • Venture capital investments
  • ICT expenditure by type of product
  • E-Commerce: Percentage of enterprises´ total turnover from E-Commerce
  • Youth education level

The following Eurostat Sustainable Development Indicators (Economic Development) are relevant to address the key question:

Other Official Indicators

Relevant data is also available in the OECD database under the headings: