Research and development

Updated: 29 Oct 2020
Next update: 29 Oct 2021

Research and development activity (R&D) is understood as systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge and use it to devise new applications. The defining criterion is that the purpose of the activity should be the presence of an appreciable element of novelty. Research and development activity includes basic research, applied research and experimental development.

The significance of research knowledge in the development of society and the economy has continually grown. This in turn increases the significance of cooperation and networking both between the public and the private sectors and within sectors. Through globalisation and international development, knowledge and expertise in its different forms have become key factors in the development of societies, which in turn is reflected in a consistent growth of research efforts. In addition to economic growth, an effective and efficient national innovation system is also increasingly considered to be a key factor in creating social wellbeing.

The goal of R&D activity is to ensure sustainable and balanced social and economic development in Finland. Increasing economic growth and wellbeing also requires the sustainably directed improvement of productivity based on innovations. The requirements for fulfilling this goal are high employment and productivity as well as good international competitiveness.


Research and development expenditure continue growing steadily

According to Statistics Finland, research and development expenditure amounted to EUR 6.7 billion in 2019. Expenditure increased by EUR 280 million from the year before which represents a growth of 4.3 per cent. Growth occurred in all sectors, in enterprises it was four per cent, in the government sector nearly three per cent and in the higher education sector five per cent compared to 2018. The growth rate of R&D expenditure was on level with the year before.

Statistical release