Newsletters on Nordic R&D statistics

NIFU publishes regularly a newsletter on R&D statistics in the Nordic countries. The statistical sources are national producers of R&D statistics, the OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators and Eurostat.

Nordic R&D expenditure diverges in 2015

Preliminary figures1 from Nordic producers of R&D statistics show that Nordic countries spent about 335 billion Norwegian kroner (NOK) on R&D in 2015. Compared with 2014, this corresponds to an increase in current prices of 10 billion NOK or 3 per cent. From 2014 to 2015 Iceland posted the strongest percentage growth followed by Norway and Sweden. Denmark reported much lower growth and in Finland R&D expenditure declines..

Finland’s share of Nordic R&D declines, Norway’s share increases 

In 2015, Sweden accounted for 41 per cent of total R&D expenditure in the Nordic countries. Denmark’s share amounted to almost 22 per cent, while Finland and Norway both accounted for 18 per cent and Iceland’s share was 1 per cent.

Ten years ago (2005) Sweden’s share accounted for nearly 44 per cent, followed by Finland (23 per cent), Denmark (18 per cent) and Norway (14 per cent). Iceland’s share has remained at around 1 per cent for several years.

R&D expenditure in the Nordic countries in 2015 by sector of performance and as a share of GDP. Billions. National currency. Per cent. Preliminary figures.


* Business enterprise sector includes industry’s intramural R&D and research institutes serving the industrial sector. Government sector includes research institutes (and other government agencies performing R&D) who are mainly controlled and financed by government. Private non-profit sector (PNP) is in this table included in government sector.Source: Eurostat and national statistical producers.Strongest growth in Iceland and NorwayR&D expenditure increased in nominal terms from 2014 to 2015 by 20 per cent in Iceland, followed by Norway and Sweden with respectively 12 and 10 per cent growth. Denmark had a small increase of 2 per cent, while Finland declines almost 7 per cent. Overall, this gives a nominal growth in Nordic R&D expenditure of 3 per cent from 2014 to 2015.

The business enterprise sector contributed most to the R&D growth in Iceland, Sweden and Norway. In Denmark, the government sector and higher education sector had the strongest growth. In Finland, there were decreases in all sectors, strongest in the government sector and weakest in the higher education sector.

R&D share of GDP at all-time high in Norway

Changes in R&D effort is also reflected in R&D expenditure as a share of gross domestic product (GDP). Finland declined from 3.8 per cent in 2009 to 2.9 per cent in 2015. This is the country’s lowest share since 1998. In Iceland, the proportion was at a higher level before 2013,2 and has increased since then. In Denmark, the level remained stable at around 3 per cent since 2009. The highest R&D share of GDP is found in Sweden (3.3 per cent), which is a slight increase from 2014, but lower than the level from before 2009. In Norway, R&D as a share of GDP has never been higher than in 2015 (1.9 per cent), but it is still the lowest in the region.

R&D expenditure as share of GDP in the Nordic countries. 2003–2015. Per cent. Preliminary figures


Highest R&D expenditure per capita in Sweden and Denmark

Relating expenditure to number of inhabitants, we see that R&D expenditure were highest in Sweden at just over 14 000 NOK per capita in 2015, followed by Denmark with almost 13 000, Norway 11 600, Finland with nearly 11 100 NOK and Iceland with just below 9 300 NOK per capita. From 2014 to 2015, Norway and Finland thus swapped position in a Nordic ranking based on these figures.

R&D expenditure per capita in the Nordic countries in 2015. NOK. Preliminay figures


(1): Real growth is calculated in PPP$ (purchasing power parity), a price-level indicator adjusting for currency and purchasing powers.

Newsletter in PDF format: 2015
Previous newsletters: 20142013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2003

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