Main Results

Continued growth in Norway’s R&D efforts

Preliminary figures for expenditure on research and experimental development (R&D) in Norway in 2016 show that the total R&D efforts amounted to more than NOK 63.5 billion. In current prices, this results in an increase in R&D expenditure of approximately 3.3 billion from 2015, corresponding to 5.5 per cent. R&D expenditure’s share of GDP increases from 1.93 to 2.04 per cent. Nearly 44,100 R&D full-time equivalents were carried out in 2016, which was almost 1,700 more than in 2015.

In current prices, the growth in R&D expenditure from 2015 to 2016 was highest in the higher education sector (10.7 per cent). The industrial sector had an increase of 6.2 per cent, while the R&D expenditure in the institute sector fell 3 per cent. Health trusts (hospitals) had a nominal increase in R&D expenditure from 2015 to 2016 of 8.5 per cent.

In the industrial sector, growth in R&D in services was 9.6 per cent, while industry R&D had a marginal increase of just under one per cent. The industrial sector´s R&D is described in more detail on Statistics Norway’s web pages, see http://www.ssb.no/. The decline in the institute sector is primarily due to two factors. Several institutes introduced new pension plans in 2015. The winding up of old schemes caused major accounting consequences for this year. These were one-off effects that contributed to the raise in R&D spending in the sector by 2015. In addition, investments were significantly higher in 2015 than in 2016. In the higher education sector, staff growth contributed to the increase in R&D resources. Some of this growth is due to the expansion of the statistical basis. The sector also saw significant growth in R&D expenses related to scientific equipment. For health trusts, which in the R&D statistical context are included in the higher education sector (university hospitals) and in the institute sector (other health trusts and private non-profit hospitals), the overall growth in R&D expenditures is linked, among other things, to increased investments in scientific equipment.

The preliminary figures indicate that a relatively high real growth in Norway’s total R&D expenditure is expected from 2015 to 2016. Final 2016-figures for R&D expenditure and R&D FTEs will be published mid-February 2018.

R&D expenditure in 2014, 2015 and 2016* by sector of performance. Million NOK and per cent.

SeCtor 2014 2015 2016 % CHANGE  2015-2016
Industrial sector 24 802 27 783 29 520 6,2
Higher education sector 16 720 18 709 20 710 10,7
Institute sector 12 345 13 718 13 300 -3,0
Total 53 867 60 210 63 530 5,5
of which health trusts 3 436 3 990 4 330 8,5
Share of GDP (%) 1,72 1,93 2,04

* Preliminary figures for 2016
Source: NIFU and Statistics Norway

Total R&D expenditure in Norway by sector of performance 1995-2016*. Fixed 2010-prices.
* Preliminary figures for 2016
Source: NIFU and Statistics Norway

Increase in R&D expenditure’s share of GDP
R&D expenditure in 2016 is estimated to amount to 2.04 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). This is an increase compared to 2015, when the share was 1.93 per cent. In addition to growth in total R&D expenditures, zero growth in the projection for GDP in 2016 contributes to a higher R&D share of GDP. However, it is important to note that both the total R&D expenditure and the projection for GDP 2016 are preliminary amounts.

R&D expenditure as a share of GDP 1995-2016*.
* Preliminary figures for 2016
Source: NIFU and Statistics Norway

1,700 more R&D full-time equivalents (FTEs) in 2016
Preliminary figures for 2016 show that nearly 44,100 R&D full-time equivalents (FTEs) in Norway were carried out in 2016, 1,700 more than in 2015. This represents an increase of about 4 per cent. The industrial sector accounted for 45 per cent of R&D FTEs, while 34 and 21 per cent were conducted in the higher education sector and the institute sector, respectively. Among the three R&D performing sectors, the higher education sector had the highest growth in FTEs from 2015 to 2016. The R&D FTEs in the institute sector remained virtually unchanged.

Health trusts accounted for 7 per cent of the total R&D FTEs in 2016, a slight decrease in the share of total FTEs compared to 2015. Growth in FTEs was thus lower from 2015 to 2016 than from 2014 to 2015 in the health trusts.

R&D full-time equivalents (FTEs) in 2014, 2015 and 2016* by sector of performance.

SeCtor 2014 2015 2016 Share per 
sector (%)
Industrial sector 17 932 19 087 19 764 45
Higher education sector 13 010 13 952 14 937 34
Institute sector 9 355 9 370 9 380 21
Total 40 297 42 409 44 081 100
of which health trusts 3 019 3 218 3 286 7

* Preliminary figures for 2016
Source: NIFU and Statistics Norway

Final and more detailed R&D statistics for Norway will be published medio February 2018.

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