High R&D activity in business enterprises
Preliminary figures show that the business enterprise sector performed research and development (R&D) for about NOK 32.6 billion in 2017. This is 10 per cent higher compared to 2016. Adjusted for price change, the increase was 8.9 per cent.
Business enterprises with at least 10 employees performed about 21 300 R&D man-years (FTEs) in 2017, according to new figures from the statistics Research and development in the business enterprise sector. This is 9 per cent more than in 2016.
Business enterprises’ overall R&D expenditure has increased continuously since 2011, including in 2017 when growth reached a solid 10 per cent. The R&D activity level was 44 per cent higher than in 2010, which was the bottom year after the financial crisis. After remaining relatively stable over time, business R&D expenses as a share of GDP have also increased in recent years, from 0.71 per cent in 2010 to 0.99 per cent in 2017.
Figure 1. Intramural R&D expenditures in constant prices. Base year=2005
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Enterprises with 5-9 employees in 2017
In addition to the total R&D expenditures of NOK 32.6 billion, enterprises with 5-9 employees spent around NOK 2.8 billion in R&D in 2017. About 2 000 R&D FTEs were carried out in these enterprises. Enterprises with 5-9 employees were last covered in the survey for 2015. To ensure comparability over time, the other figures in this article apply to enterprises with at least 10 employees.
Service industries grew the most
Growth in business enterprises’ R&D activity was mainly driven by service industries, but there was also an increase in the manufacturing industry and in other industries (including crude oil and natural gas extraction). Service industries’ R&D expenditure increased by NOK 2.2 billion in 2017, a 14 per cent growth compared to 2016. In the manufacturing industry, the 6 per cent increase accounted for NOK 600 million.
Small enterprises contributed most to business R&D growth
The proportion of enterprises performing R&D was 26 per cent in 2017, unchanged from the previous year. This proportion varies widely among the size groupings. Dividing enterprises into two groups, one with at least 100 and one with 10-99 employees, showed that 48 per cent of enterprises with at least 100 employees reported that they either performed R&D themselves or bought R&D services from others. By comparison, this applied to only 23 per cent of enterprises with between 10 and 99 employees.
In spite of a lower proportion of R&D, enterprises with 10-99 employees showed the largest growth. Business R&D expenses increased by NOK 3.1 billion as a whole, and enterprises with 10-99 employees accounted for almost NOK 2.6 billion of this increase. This is a 22 per cent growth, while enterprises with at least 100 employees only had a growth of 3 per cent compared to 2016.
More purchases of R&D services
In addition to performing its own R&D, many companies purchase R&D services from other companies or institutions. The total expenditure of purchased R&D amounted to NOK 7.4 billion in 2017, a growth of 5 per cent compared to 2016.
In addition, enterprises with 5-9 employees purchased R&D services for almost NOK 0.5 billion in 2017.
Norway's total R&D effort
Information on the total R&D effort for Norway, including universities, colleges and research institutes, is available at https://www.nifu.no/en/statistics-indicators/nokkeltall/.