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Press release

Research and development in Italy

In 2014, in current price terms Italy’s gross domestic expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) was nearly 22,3 billion euro. It increased by 6.2% compared to 2013. In constant price terms, it increased by 5.3%.

The R&D intensity (the ratio of GERD to GDP) increased, rising from 1.31% in 2013 to 1.38% in 2014.
The expenditure on intramural Research and Development increased in all the four sectors. In particular, the Business enterprises expenditure on R&D (BERD) registered a 7.5% increase on the previous year, the Higher education sector a +6.5%, the Government a +0.8% and the Private non-profit sector a +5.5%.

The private component of expenditure on the intramural R&D (Business enterprises+Private non-profit sector) increased, rising from 57.7% of total R&D spent in 2013 to 58.3% in 2014. The contribution of government fell by 0.7 percentage points (from 14.0% to 13.3%). The contribution of the Higher education sector remained quite stable (from 28.3% to 28.4%).

Compared to 2013, the expenditure on intramural R&D increased in all geographical areas. The largest increase was registered in in the South and Islands area (+12.6%), followed by the North-West (+5.7%), the North-East (+4.6%) and the Central Italy (+4.1%).

In 2014 the number of public and private employees involved in R&D activities (measured in terms of “full-time equivalent units”) amounted to 249,467 units; it increased by 1.1% compared to 2013. The dynamics of the R&D personnel varied largely across sectors: it increased in Private no profit institutions (+7.2%) and in Business enterprises (+3.6% ), while it decreased in the Higher education sector (-2.3%) and in the Public institutions (-1,3%).

In 2014 the number of researchers (in terms of full-time equivalents) was equal to 118,183 units, a 1.7% increase compared to 2013. The increase was visible in most of the sectors, with the exception of the Public institutions, which registered a small decline (-1.3%).

The provisional data for 2015, given by the enterprises on the basis of available information in the period when data were collected, showed a decrease in GERD both in current terms (-1.8% compared to 2014) and a decrease of 2.4% in constant price terms.

The provisional data for 2016 confirmed a decrease of 1.4% in the Public institutions and an increase of 5.2% and 2.2% respectively in BERD and in the Private non-profit institutions (the provisional data for the Universities are not available).

The Italy’s Government support for R&D activities, measured by the Government budget appropriations or outlay for R&D (GBAORD), fell compared to the forecast expenditure settled in 2014, passing from 8,450 million euro to 8,266.

For information:

Valeria Mastrostefano
Ph: +39 06 4673.6137
mastrost@istat.it

Reference period: Years 2014-2016

Date of Issue: 18 November 2016