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Press release

Research and development in Italy

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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.


Reference period: Years 2014-2016

Date of Issue: 18 November 2016


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