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Press release

Research and development in Italy

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In 2016, in current price terms Italy’s gross domestic expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) was nearly 23,2 billion euro. It increased by 4.6% compared to 2015.

The R&D intensity (the ratio of GERD to GDP) was 1.38%, while the value observed in 2014 was 1.34%.

The expenditure on intramural Research and Development increased on the previous year for the Business enterprises (+9.3%), was steady for the Government, while Higher education and Private non-profit sectors registered a reduction (respectively -1.0% and -18.6%).

The private component of expenditure on the intramural R&D (Business enterprises+Private non-profit sector) rose to 63.3% in 2016 (+1.9 percentage points). The contribution of the Higher education sector was 24.4%, the Government’s one was 12.6%.

In 2016 the number of public and private employees involved in R&D activities (measured in terms of “full-time equivalent units”) amounted to 290,039.5 units; it increased by 11.9% compared to 2015. Growth covered two sectors with different values: +20.3% in Business enterprises, +4.4 in the Higher education sector. Both Private no profit institutions and Public institutions encountered a reduction (respectively -0.9% and -0.5%).

In 2016 the number of researchers (in terms of full-time equivalents) was equal to 133,705.7 units, a 6.2% increase compared to 2015. The growth was visible in all the four sectors, especially in Business enterprises (+11.3%) and Higher education sector (+4.0%).

The preliminary data for 2017 showed an increase in GERD (+1.8%) both for the Business enterprises and the Government (Data on universities are not yet available).

The preliminary data for 2018, compared to the previous year, confirmed a rise for the Public institutions (+5.6%), the Private non profit sector (+4.9%) and the Business enterprises (2.9%).

Italy’s Government support for R&D activities, measured by the Government budget appropriations or outlays for R&D (GBAORD), reduced compared to the forecast expenditure settled in 2016, passing from 8,7 billion euro to 8,6.

Reference period: Years 2016-2018

Date of Issue: 10 September 2018

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