The European Union spent €311 billion ($354.5 billion) for research and development (R&D) activities in 2020, down by €1 billion from 2019, the bloc's statistical office said on Monday.
The R&D intensity – expenditures' share in the GDP – was 2.3% in 2020 and 2.2% in 2019, with the rise stemming from a decrease in GDP due to the pandemic, Eurostat said.
"R&D is a major driver of innovation, and R&D expenditure and intensity are two of the key indicators used to monitor resources devoted to science and technology worldwide," it noted.
The business enterprise sector was the most spending sector in R&D, accounting for 66% of total expenditures in 2020, with the higher education sector (22%), the government sector (12%), and the private non-profit sector (1%) following it.
While the highest R&D intensity was seen in Belgium and Sweden (both 3.5%), Austria (3.2%) and Germany (3.1%), Romania, Malta, Latvia, Greek Cypriot administration, Bulgaria, and Slovakia posted intensity rates below 1%.