Research and development

In 2018, research and development expenditures in Belgium amounted to 2.8% of gross domestic product. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must reach 3%. This objective will be reached by continuing the trend since 2000 (data available in April 2019). Research and development expenditures are therefore developing favourably.

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Research and development - Belgium - trend assessment

gross domestic expenditure in percentage of GDP

 2000200520102015201620172018202020252030
observations1.91.82.12.42.52.72.8------
trend and extrapolation (April 2019)1.91.92.12.42.52.62.72.83.13.2
objective 2020 and beyond3.03.03.03.03.03.03.03.03.03.0

Eurostat (2020), Intramural R&D expenditure (GERD) by sectors of performance [rd_e_gerdtot], https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 26/03/2020).

Research and development - Belgium and international comparison

gross domestic expenditure in percentage of GDP

 1995200020052010201320152016201720182018//19952018//2013
Belgium1.71.91.82.12.32.42.52.72.82.33.4
EU27--1.81.82.02.12.12.12.22.2--1.0
//: Average Growth Rates

Eurostat (2020), Intramural R&D expenditure (GERD) by sectors of performance [rd_e_gerdtot], https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 26/03/2020).

Research and development by region - Belgium

gross domestic expenditure in percentage of GDP

 2005201020122015201620172017//20052017//2012
Brussels-Capital Region1.11.41.41.82.02.25.78.7
Flemish Region2.02.22.52.72.82.93.13.0
Walloon Region1.82.22.42.52.52.73.41.9
//: Average Growth Rates

Belgian Science Policy/FPB (2020), Innovationdata.be, https://innovationdata.be/i/KNO_RDGT_1/Total-RD-expenditure (consulted on 26/03/2020).

Definition: the indicator measures gross domestic expenditure on research and development (R&D), both public and private, as a percentage of GDP. These expenditures relate to work undertaken on a systematic basis to increase the stock of knowledge, and the use of this stock of knowledge for new applications. Data come from Eurostat and the Federal Planning Bureau.

Goal: the share of R&D expenditure must reach 3% of GDP as from 2020.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 9.5: "Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending".

In the National Reform Programme adopted in 2011 by Belgium (Federal Government, 2011) in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy (European Commission, 2010), Belgium committed itself to achieve R&D expenditure equal to 3% of its GDP by 2020. This target of 3% was first set by the Barcelona European Council in 2002, as part of the Lisbon Strategy, to be reached by 2010 (European Council, 2002).

The Federal Long-Term Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development also sets this objective: "Research and development budgets will reach at least 3% of GDP and will increase year by year" (Objective 49; Belgian Official Gazette, 08/10/2013).

Since the commitments set a target of 3% for 2020 and 2050, this goal is also considered for 2030.

International comparison: in comparison with the European average, the Belgian indicator as a percentage of GDP has always stood at a higher level. As from 2009, the growth rate of the indicator (both in euros and as a percentage of GDP) for Belgium was higher. As a consequence, the gap in 2018 between the Belgian R&D expenditure and the European ones (EU27) is close to 0.6 percentage point. When Member States are divided into three groups, Belgium is part of the group with the best performance in 2018.

UN indicator: the selected indicator corresponds to indicator 9.5.1 - Research and development expenditure as a proportion of GDP.

Sources

This indicator is also included in another database of the Federal Planning Bureau: the indicators of the innovation system.

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