Estonia’s R&D funding growth leads all of Europe

07.12.2011 | 12:59

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Tallinn, Stenbock House, 7 December 2011 – Prime Minister Andrus Ansip convened a meeting of the Research and Development Council, which among other things provided an overview of the current status of the field.

Ansip expressed hope that the rapid development of the field would continue in the future at the same rate.

In briefing the prime minister on the effectuation of the RDI strategy implementation plan in 2010-2011, the head of the research department at the Ministry of Education and Research, Indrek Reimand, said the field was functional and internationally competitive.

Ansip said he was pleased that from since 2000, the volume of research and development has increased at the fastest rate in Europe. In 2010, investments in the field reached 1.63 percent of GDP, and the figure is converging on the EU average of 1.9 per cent.

The ministry’s report shows that the ratio of researchers and engineers to the population has remained at the same level as in 2009. The share of researchers and engineers in the private sector has grown. A significant trend is that the share of innovative enterprises and employment in high-tech and medium-high-tech industry and service sectors has again started growing. In the last two years, the state continued funding for innovation and development advisory services, and by this October it had issued 497 innovation vouchers worth 2.21 million euros.

In 2010, foreign direct investment reached an all time high in Estonia, in excess of 12 billion euros. Among such placements, research and development intensive investments have grown. In total, 26.6 million euros of foreign R&D investment was made into Estonia in 2010, which made up 11.5 per cent of total investments into R&D.

Estonia is among the three most successful EU member states in the European Union’s research and development framework programme. Estonia is the absolute leader in total amount allocated by the European Commission for successful projects per unit of GDP. A total of 340 Estonian organizations are participating in the projects of the framework programme, which receive 54.6 million euros of funding from the European Commission.

A key milestone in popularizing science was the opening of the biggest science visitor centre in the Baltics, AHHAA, in Tartu in May 2011. Over 75,000 people – both Estonians and international visitors – visited the centre in its first six months.

Among other topics, the Research and Development Council discussed the 2012-2013 implementation plan for the RDI strategy and new programmes to be approved in the operational programme. There was also a discussion regarding the possibilities for establishing a Baltic Innovation Fund and the role of the Research and Development Council in preparing the new strategy.

More information about the Research and Development Council:

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