Latest data published by the National Statistics Office (NSO) shows that in 2016, a decrease of €12.8 million was recorded in total expenditure on R&D activities, equivalent to 17.9 per cent over 2015. The Business Enterprise sector contributed 62.0 per cent to total R&D, whereas the Higher Education and Government sectors contributed 36.7 and 1.3 per cent respectively.
Primarily the R&D expenditure is earmarked to Basic Research, with a 54.0 per cent of total R&D in 2016, followed by Applied Research (32.7 per cent) and Experimental Development (13.3 per cent). Refer to methodological note 3 for the definition of each type of R&D activity.Science
In 2016 the three R&D sectors of performance reported a drop in total R&D expenditure compared to 2015. The lower R&D expenditure was triggered by lower outlays on capital expenditure of €12.9 million, mainly as a result of completion of R&D infrastructure in the Government sector in 2015. In the Business Enterprise sector an increase in recurrent costs of €1.6 million was outweighed by a reduction of €2.0 million in capital expenditure. In the Higher Education sector, a decrease was registered in both recurrent and capital costs by €1.2 million and €0.2 million respectively. Labour costs represented 70.2 per cent of total R&D expenditure, whereas other recurrent expenditure and capital projects had a share of 16.7 per cent and 13.1 per cent respectively.
In 2016, the highest rate of R&D activity was recorded in Engineering and Technology which accounted for 49.6 per cent of total expenditure, followed by Natural Sciences (18.3 per cent) and Medical Sciences (12.2 per cent). Year-on-year comparisons show that the highest decreases were registered in Medical Sciences (€10.3 million) and Natural Sciences (€3.8 million). Conversely, Engineering and Technology reported a growth of €4.5 million.
The majority of R&D activity in Engineering and Technology and Natural Sciences was undertaken in business enterprises whereas research in relation to Humanities and Medical and Social sciences was mainly carried out by the Higher Education sector.
Each sector mostly funds its own research, complemented 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 €6.3 million, or 10.7 per cent of total funds.
In 2016, 2,408 employees were engaged in R&D work, of who 1,405 dedicated part of their working time to R&D. The highest R&D employment rate was registered in the Higher Education sector, at 1,218 employees, followed by the Business Enterprise sector, with 1,111 employees.
With regard to employment by major field of science, in 2016 the highest employment activity in R&D was recorded in Engineering and Technology with 754 employees, followed by Natural and Social sciences, with 621 and 413 employees respectively.
In 2017, the highest outlays of Government budget allocations for R&D (GBARD) were recorded in the socio-economic activities related to Health (€5.3 million), Industrial Production and Technology (€4.6 million) and Culture, recreation, religion and media (€4.0 million). Compared to 2016, GBARD increased by €1.0 million.