Research and development in the institute sector

Updated: 26 October 2023

Next update: 29 October 2024

Total research and development (R&D) expenditure in the institute sector
Total research and development (R&D) expenditure in the institute sector
NOK billion
Research and development (R&D) in the institute sector, by funding source
Research and development (R&D) in the institute sector, by funding source
20222021 - 2022
NOK millionPercentagesChange in per cent
Source of funding
Total16 9651003.4
Industry2 825178.9
The Research Council of Norway4 5822713.3
Ministries etc7 37643-6.4
Other national sources615411.9
Abroad, not specified82455.5
Explanation of symbols

Selected tables and charts from this statistics

  • R&D expenditure in the institute sector, by institute group. NOK million
    R&D expenditure in the institute sector, by institute group. NOK million
    Institute group
    Total14 82815 08814 99816 41116 965
    Sum Research Institutes8 4089 0588 9609 92810 352
    Agricultural and Fishery Research Institutes1 6521 7171 6692 2881 737
    Technological and Industrial Research Institutes4 2214 5274 5314 7685 345
    Environmental Research Institutes1 3321 5651 5491 6021 826
    Social Science Research Institutes1 2031 2491 2111 2701 444
    Health trusts9671 0501 0611 1011 175
    Other institutions5 4534 9814 9775 3825 438
    Explanation of symbols
  • R&D current expenditure in the institute sector, by field of R&D. NOK million
    R&D current expenditure in the institute sector, by field of R&D. NOK million
    Field of R&D
    Total13 68614 56414 47115 12916 364
    Humanities and the arts376432428465461
    Social sciences2 1062 1062 0782 0742 283
    Natural sciences2 8222 7892 7223 0733 874
    Engineering and technology4 4814 9454 9055 1895 652
    Medical and Health sciences1 8231 9051 9852 1102 190
    Agricultural sciences2 0782 3882 3552 2191 905
    Explanation of symbols

About the statistics

The survey measures resources spent on research and development (R&D) in the institute sector . It measures R&D expenditure, R&D personnel, and R&D full-time equivalent and covers, among other things, funding, type of R&D, field of R&D and thematic and technology areas.

The information under «About the statistics» was last updated 4 October 2023.

Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative and systematic work undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge – including knowledge of humankind, culture and society – and to devise new applications of available knowledge.

It can be difficult to distinguish R&D from other related activities. Important criteria that must be met for the activity to be considered R&D are that it contains something new, is creative, has uncertainty related to the result, is systematic and can be transferred and / or reproduced.

Type of R&D

  • Basic research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.
  • Applied research is original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge. It is, however, directed primarily towards a specific, practical aim or objective.
  • Experimental development is systematic work, drawing on knowledge gained from research and practical experience and producing additional knowledge, which is directed to producing new products or processes or to improving existing products or processes.

Sources of funding

  • Business enterprise sector
  • Public funding
  • Other national sources
  • Other foreign sources

The R&D activity in the institute sector is divided into the following fields of R&D:

  • Humanities and the arts
  • Social sciences
  • Natural sciences
  • Engineering and technology
  • Medicine and health sciences
  • Agriculture sciences

Institute arenas

Research institutes subject to guidelines for state basic funding for research institutes and research groups are divided into four distribution arenas: environmental institutes, primary industry institutes, social science institutes and technical-industrial institutes. In addition, other research institutions and units with some elements of R&D in the public sector.

R&D personnel

All personnel directly involved in research and development (R&D), both researchers and technical other support staff.

R&D full-time equivalent (FTE)

The work performed by the R&D personnel during one year is converted into full-time equivalents.

Not relevant

Research and development in the institute sector

29 October 2024

Division for R&D, Technology and Business Dynamics Statistics

National level, key variables by region and county

The statistics are published in October of the year following the end of the statistical year (t + 10 months).

The statistics are reported to OECD and Eurostat.

Collected and revised data are stored securely by Statistics Norway in compliance with applicable legislation on data processing.

Statistics Norway can grant access to the source data (de-identified or anonymised microdata) on which the statistics are based, for researchers and public authorities for the purposes of preparing statistical results and analyses. Access can be granted upon application and subject to conditions. Refer to the details about this at Access to data from Statistics Norway.

The purpose of the R&D surveys is to map the national R&D activity in the business enterprise sector, the institute sector and the higher education sector. The surveys and results are prepared according to guidelines made by the OECD in the so-called "Frascati manual".

The first R&D statistical surveys in Norway were conducted in the late 1950s. An important background was that the Norwegian research councils needed systematic information about research personnel, research recruitment needs and comparisons of investment in research between Norway and other countries. The Norwegian Research Council for General Sciences (NAVF) and the Norwegian Research Council for Technical and Natural Sciences (NTNF) participated early in the work on R&D statistics in line with the OECD's initiative. The other Nordic countries also participated early in the work. Over the years, the Nordic countries have worked closely together on these statistics. 1963 is considered the year in which international R&D statistics were established, and Norway has participated in the work from the beginning. In 1993, the five research councils were merged, and the official R&D statistics for Norway have since been prepared by Statistics Norway and the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU) in agreement with the Research Council of Norway.

From the 1960s until 2022, the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU and its predecessors) was responsible for conducting the survey for the institute sector and the higher education sector. Statistics Norway has conducted the survey for the business enterprise sector since 1991. As of 2022, Statistics Norway will conduct the R&D survey for all three R&D performing sectors.

Key users are ministries, the Research Council of Norway, research environments, health trusts, higher education institutions, and journalists. The survey is an important part of the knowledge base for research policy, and is used in evaluation, research, and analysis. OECD and Eurostat also use the results in international comparisons.

No external users have access to statistics before they are released at 8 a.m. on after at least three months’ advance notice in the release calendar. This is one of the most important principles in Statistics Norway for ensuring the equal treatment of users.

The national R&D figures are the sum of the figures for three sectors:

Note that the university hospitals are part of the higher education sector, and that health trusts without a university hospital function and private, non-profit hospitals are part of the institute sector.

Statistics Norway reports R&D statistics for Norway to the OECD and Eurostat, but with a somewhat different sector division internationally than the Norwegian one. The OECD's sector division consists of:

  • Higher education sector
  • Government sector
  • Business enterprise sector
  • Private non-profit sector (PNP)

The higher education sector corresponds to the Norwegian higher education sector.

The government sector comprises the Norwegian institute sector apart from private research institutes which mainly serve the business enterprise sector. The business-oriented research institutes include industry specific research institutes and contract institutes, which in the international reporting belong to the business enterprise sector.

In addition to private research institutes that mainly serve the business enterprise sector, the Business enterprise sector includes the business enterprises, i.e. companies with at least 10 employees.

The PNP sector (private non-profit) performs little R&D in Norway and is therefore merged with the government sector in the international R&D statistics. The same applies to the PNP sector in many other countries.

Statistics Act. Act of 21 June 2019 no. 32 on official statistics and Statistics Norway, § 10 on the duty to provide information (Statistikkloven,

Regulation (EU) 2019/2152 of the European Parliament and of the Council on European business enterprise statistics.

The R&D survey of the institute sector includes research institutes subject to guidelines for government basic grants to research institutes and research groups, other research institutes and other units with a large or small element of R&D in the public sector, and which are neither classified in the business enterprise sector nor in the higher education sector.

The institute sector is heterogeneous both in terms of size, purpose, academic structure and in relation to which social sectors the units serve. Health trusts without university hospital functions and private, non-profit hospitals are also included in the institute sector in the R&D statistics. The data collection takes place through a separate questionnaire to the health trusts.


The survey unit is the individual institute or institution. For the health trusts, the unit is health trusts without university hospital functions, and private, non-profit hospitals.

The R&D survey of the institute sector is based om a total survey.

The most important data source for R&D statistics in the institute sector is the annual reporting of key figures to the Research Council of Norway from the research institutes which are subject to guidelines for government basic grants to research institutes and research groups, in addition to surveys on R&D activity to other institutions.

The survey measures R&D expenditure, how R&D activity is funded, as well as the distribution of type of R&D, field of R&D and thematic and technology areas. The questionnaire is sent out 2–4 months after the end of the statistical year. See more about reporting from institutes subject to guidelines for government basic grants to research institutes and research groups. We cover the health trusts without a university hospital function and private, non-profit hospitals through a separate survey for the health trusts and compile the figures with the results for the rest of the institute sector.

Response burden

Time spent filling out the form is not calculated.


Editing is defined here as checking, examining and amending data. All forms undergo on-receipt controls (whether the questionnaire have been filled out, if there are any obvious errors, etc.). Furthermore, they are checked in more detail against e.g., previous surveys, annual reports, and other available information. Any errors, misunderstandings and deficiencies in the reporting will be followed up with the respondent.


R&D activity at the museums is estimated based on the number of R&D personnel.

Fixed prices

The respondents report R&D expenditure in current prices. Statistics Norway also publishes the figures for R&D expenditure in current prices. For total R&D expenditure, we also calculate figures in fixed prices. A new A deflator is an indicator used to convert a series of numbers from current prices (prices of the year) to a series of numbers of fixed prices. has been used to calculate R&D expenditure at fixed prices for 2013 and the entire period back to 1970. The base year is 2015. The new deflator is based on the price index for production in industry 72 Research and development work in the national accounts. See table 09170 in the statistics bank, the variable "Output at basic value. Annual change in prices (per cent)". This is a weighted cost index - an average index for the various types of expenditure. The same deflator is used for all the R&D performing sectors.

Not relevant

Employees of Statistics Norway have a duty of confidentiality.
Statistics Norway does not publish figures if there is a risk of the respondent’s contribution being identified. This means that, as a general rule, figures are not published if fewer than three units form the basis of a cell in a table or if the contribution of one or two respondents constitutes a very large part of the cell total.

Statistics Norway can make exceptions to the general rule if deemed necessary to meet the requirements of the EEA agreement, if the respondent is a public authority, if the respondent has consented to this, or when the information disclosed is openly accessible to the public.

More information can be found on Statistics Norway’s website under Methods in official statistics, in the ‘Confidentiality’ section.

The results from the R&D statistics are published at an aggregate level so that individual units cannot be identified.

Norway has participated in international cooperation on R&D statistics since its establishment in 1963. Since 1977, surveys have been conducted every other year in Norway. Since 2007, surveys for the institute sector have been conducted annually. Both organizational changes and changes in definitions and classifications mean that longer time series are not always equally meaningful for all indicators.

The units included in the institute sector have varied somewhat over time because of organizational changes and the relocation of units between the R&D performing sectors. Among major changes in sector affiliation over the past decade, it is particularly important to mention that Uni Research AS was moved to the institute sector from the higher education sector in 2009, and from 2018 the unit is part of NORCE Norwegian Research Centre. In 2014, two social science institutes, the Work Research Institute (AFI) and NOVA - Norwegian Social Research, were incorporated into Oslo and Akershus University College, which from 2018 is OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University. The Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR) and the National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO) were merged into the same institution in 2016.

The concept of R&D can be difficult to delimit from related activity. The quality of the data on which the statistics are based depends on the judgment exercised by the persons answering the form, and on the fact that they are familiar with the R&D concept and the unit's R&D activities. The respondents receive guidance on completing the questionnaire with an overview of definitions. Furthermore, the quality is based on controls and routines with us who make the R&D statistics, e.g. by designing questionnaires, contact with the sector, use of available register data and knowledge of the R&D system.

The response rate is high. If large R&D units do not answer the questionnaire, the data is calculated based on other available information.

Preliminary figures will have somewhat greater uncertainty than final figures, but the changes are normally small.

There have been no major revisions of the R&D statistics. See general principles for auditing in Statistics Norway.