Riigikogu, 17 December 2013 – Prime Minister Andrus Ansip gave an overview to the Riigikogu on the situation of research and development activities and the Government policy in this area. According to the head of the Government, the state has made considerable investments in research and development activities and the next step is to create a better synergy between research and the business sector. According to the Prime Minister, in the second year in a row, the statistics places us among the best European countries in research and development ability.In 2012, the volume of expenditure of Estonia’s research and development activities amounted to 2.19 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Total expenditure from the economic sectors on research and development activities amounted to 380.69 million euros in 2012. “Although the absolute amount of it is about 1 percent less than the year before, it reflects a positive long-term trend,” the Prime Minister said. “Compared to 2007, the total volume of expenditure has more than doubled. The growth in Estonia’s research and development expenditure has been the most rapid in the European Union,” Prime Minister Ansip added. According to the head of the Government, the structure and impact of research and development activities is more important than their total amount ofexpenditure. “Improving business capacity, employment, increased investments, and general growth of welfare are precisely the economic and societal impacts, which we expect to achieve when speaking about the significance and results of research and innovation,” he stressed. The Prime Minister said in his speech that the follow-up and growth of top researchers and researchers moving into the private sector remains an important challenge. While the Prime Minister estimates that the implementation of researchers and engineers has moderately increased in the business sector over the past seven years, we would need sharp improvement in the trend according to him. “We should seek additional solutions for ongoing education reforms, which would provide the private sector with flexible and more efficient opportunities to hire researchers and engineers,” the Prime Minister said. Amendments to the Law on Foreigners, which entered into force in September, have proved to be a right step according to him and facilitated to the arrival of professionals to Estonia and their employment. According to the Prime Minister, however, we could be much more creative and self-confident in the global talent “snatching” contest, as well as in the implementation of our own talents.According to the INSEAD’s Global Talent Competitiveness Index, which was recently published, Estonia’s attractivness was assessed as worthy of the 23rd place among 103 countries. When speaking about the period of structural means planned on the basis of the new strategy for research and development activities and innovation, Prime Minister Ansip said that its purpose is to provide a positive impulse in a limited period of time to achieve a quantum leap in some field. According to his opinion, the strength of Estonia is good availability of resources required for research and development activities, however, the problem is the lack of economic impact of research and development activities. “For Estonia, this means a constant search for equilibrium points between opportunities, needs, and effectiveness. When taking into account the high level of our research and innovation environment, those equilibrium points should be particularly sought from the better synergy between research and business sector,” the Prime Minister stressed in his speech to the Riigikogu today.