Research and development

Updated: 26 Oct 2017
Next update: 25 Oct 2018

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.


Contraction of research and development expenditure slowed down

According to Statistics Finland, research and development expenditure amounted to EUR 5.9 billion in 2016. Expenditure went down by EUR 145 million from the year before. The decrease comes entirely from the business enterprises sector, where research and development expenditure contracted by close on four per cent, which is, however, a one-half slower fall rate for expenditure than in 2015. In research institutes and elsewhere in the government sector and in the higher education sector, R&D expenditure remained on level with the previous year.