Research and development in the business enterprise sector
Updated: 23 February 2021
Next update: 22 October 2021
About the statistics
The survey measures expenditures for research and development (R&D) in business enterprises, performed by own personnel or purchased services from others, and how the R&D activity is funded. In addition other aspects like type of R&D, thematic fields and co-operation are covered.
R&D comprises creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications. The main criteria of R&D activities are the presence of an appreciable element of novelty and uncertainty on the outcome. Normal construction and planning activities, that follow established routines, is not R&D. Either is the introduction of known, established technology for the enterprise.
Definition of the main variables
encompass all personnel directly involved in research and development, including administrative personnel, persons in supporting functions, both inside and outside the R&D department.
A R&D man-year
is the R&D work one person has performed during the year.
Intramural R&D expenditures
are all expenditures for R&D; performed within the statistical unit. Intramural R&D expenditures encompass labour costs, cost of hired personnel, other current costs and capital expenditures on R&D.
Extramural R&D expenditures
encompass R&D services purchased from others; as research institutes, other enterprises, also including units in the same enterprise group.
The statistical units are classified according to:
- Standard Industrial Classification (SIC2007). The basis for SIC 2007 is the EU standard NACE Rev. 2 and the UN standard ISIC Rev. 3.
- Size class by number of employees: 05-09 employees, 10-19, 20-49, 50-99, 100-199, 200-499 and 500+ employees
Name: Research and development in the business enterprise sector
Topic: Technology and innovation
Division for Business Dynamics Statistics
National level, key variables by county and economic region. Main variables by county are available in Statbank; by economic region on request.
Annual. Preliminary results are published in October year t+1, final results in February year t+2.
The statistics are reported to OECD and Eurostat.
Micro data and information about sample units and population are stored permanently. For access to microdata for research purposes, see: https://www.ssb.no/en/omssb/tjenester-og-verktoy/data-til-forskning
The purpose with the R&D surveys is to monitor the national R&D activity. The R&D survey for the Business enterprise sector is performed each year by Statistics Norway on contract for the Norwegian Research Council who also contribute to the funding of the survey. Surveys on the R&D activity in the Government sector and the Higher Education sector are undertaken by Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU). The survey, and the results, follows the recommendations given in the OECD Frascati Manual
The survey undertaken by Statistics Norway measures the expenditures of R&D in the business enterprise sector, both R&D performed by own personnel (intramural R&D) and R&D services purchased from others like research institutes, other enterprises etc. (extramural R&D) and how the R&D activity is financed (own sources, public sources etc.). The R&D activity is distributed by type of R&D, research field a.o. The content of the survey varies slightly from year to year.
Important users are public administration, like ministries and the Research Council, researchers, business organizations. The survey is important for evaluation of the R&D and innovation policy and the industrial policy in general. The statistics are also used by international organizations like EU/Eurostat and OECD.
The national R&D Statistics are published at the same time by Statistics Norway and NIFU. Preliminary results are published in October year t+1. The variables being published are number of R&D personnel, number of R&D man-years and R&D expenditures. Final results are published in January/February year t+2. This release provides more detailed results by industry and region and several breakdowns of the main variables. Normally there are only small differences in the main variables from preliminary to final release. Both preliminary and final results are based on reported figures from the enterprises.
No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 08 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar.
Exception from the principle of equal treatment:
The Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU) has access to some of the main preliminary figures from SSBs R&D statistics for the business enterprise sector before these are published on SSB’s website. NIFU adds up the results from their sectors with data from SSB to publish the total national R&D.
For total national R&D figures the R&D survey for the business enterprise sector has to be added to NIFU’s surveys for the Government sector and the Higher Education sector. NIFU is responsible for publishing of national figures, but some main results are also available in SSB’s Statbank.
The R&D survey for the business enterprise sector was formerly carried out together with the innovation survey and data collected together in the same questionnaire. From 2013 onwards the R&D survey and the innovation survey are carried out separately. As previously the results from these surveys are published separately. R&D is one of the innovation activities, but the innovation survey covers a wider range of activities than R&D only.
Sections 2-2 and 2-3 of Act no. 54 of 16 June 1989 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway.
European Parliament and Council Decision No. 1608/2003/EC of 22 July 2003 concerning the production and development of Community statistics on science and technology and implementing Commission Regulation No. 995/2012 of 26 October 2012 as regards statistics on science and technology.
The Business Enterprise sector. NACE-sectors 03, 05-33, 35-39, 41-43, 46, 49-53, 58-66, 70-72, 74.9, 82.9 (SN2007).
Surveys using the Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises as a frame.
The survey is a census of all units with at least 50 employees. In addition are all units with10-49 employees and with considerable reported R&D activity in the previous survey included. Among the other units with 10 - 49 employees a random sample is drawn within each strata (NACE 2-digit and size class). The fraction rate is normally 30 percent, but in some strata 15 and 10 percent are used.
The sample was about 5-6000 units.
The sample was extended in the 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2019 survey to also include enterprises with 5-9 employees. The total sample of these years is therefore larger than in the years in between. For comparability the statistics were presented both with and without this extension of the survey. The enterprises with 5-9 employees are not included in comparisons over time and international comparisons.
From 2008 onwards, enterprises with less than 20 employees in the industries Construction and Transportation and storage are not included. These groups have a large number of enterprises and a very low share of the total R&D activity in the business enterprise sector.
The statistical unit is enterprise, and with breakdown of a number of variables to establishments (local kind-of-activity unit). Until 1999 the statistical unit was the branch unit ( kind-of-activity unit) .
An enterprise is defined as the smallest combination of legal units that is an organizational unit producing goods or services. An enterprise may be a sole legal unit. An enterprise carries out one or more activities at one or more locations and may consist of one or more branch units or establishments. A establishment is geographically located in one particular place and its main activity delimited to one NACE-class. A branch unit encompasses all establishment units within the same NACE-class, but is not necessarily located to only one region. The use of branch unit/establishments gives the most detailed breakdown of the statistics by NACE. When enterprise is used as statistical unit the R&D activity is classified by NACE according to the enterprise’s main activity.
The data on R&D are collected by electronic questionnaire, more information at http://www.ssb.no/innrapportering/naeringsliv/fou. The forms are sent out 4-5 months after the end of the reference year.
The time used to fill in the form is estimated to 30 minutes on average. This yields a total response burden of 2150 hours for the enterprises. However, the content of the questionnaire may vary from one year to another.
All forms undergo on-receipt controls (is the questionnaire filled in, is there any obvious inconsistencies etc). There are integrated a number of controls in the electronic questionaire. After the data are made available electronically, more detailed controls take part, including check with the data from the previous survey, information from the financial account etc.
For units with less than 50 employees the survey is based on a sample of units. Total figures for this part of the survey population are estimated based on the sample units. The estimations are done within each stratum, NACE 2-digit level and size-class.
R&D expenditure are reported and published in current prices. For total R&D expenditure figures at constant prices are also calculated. A new deflator is adopted for calculating R&D expenditure at constant prices for 2013 and the period back to 1970. The base year is 2015. The new deflator is based on the price index of production in NACE 72 Research and development in the national accounts. This is a weighted cost index - an average index for the different types of expenditure. The same deflator is used for all institutional sectors in the R&D statistics. Formerly various price indices were used for the various types of expenditure (wages, operating expenditures and investments) and performing sectors. There are two main reasons for this change of index: The new index will also be used in the national accounts where R&D after the main revision of SNA is capitalized, and it will simplify fixed price calculations significantly.
Results are published at an aggregated level. Individual enterprises can not be identified.
The first surveys of R&D started back in 1963, from 1970 onwards in a systematic way. The statistics have been worked out on bi-annual basis since 1977, but is undertaken annually from 2001 onwards. The first surveys covered only manufacturing industry, but the service industries have gradually been included. Statistics Norway is responsible for the survey for the Business enterprise sector from 1991 onwards. In 1995 the survey was considerably extended.
From 1991 the statistical unit was the kind-of-activity unit. For 2001 this was changed to enterprise as the main statistical unit, but with a breakdown of the main variables to local kind-of-activity unit.
From 2008 a new version of the industry classification (SN2007) was implemented making it more difficult to compare with former vintages. Results from 2007 are published both by the old and the new classification, while former vintages only are published by the old classification (SN2002).
Every second year, enterprises With 5-9 employees are included in the survey.For comparability the statistics were presented both with and without this extension of the survey. The enterprises with 5-9 employees are not included in comparisons over time and international comparisons.
The concept of R&D may be difficult to distinguish from related activities.
The response rate for the survey is high, around 99 per cent, and the results should for that reason not be biased by non-respondents. In case of non-response from large R&D performers there are good routines to estimate missing data. Preliminary results have a larger degree of uncertainty than final results.
Due to controls in the electronic questionnaire, the item non-response is almost non-existent. Item non-response is in case adjusted during the revision process.
The population of enterprises is based upon the Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises. The sample is stratified by NACE 2-digit and number of employees. Incomplete updating of these variables and entries and exits of enterprises may cause errors in the survey.