Ricerca e sviluppo

Research and development in Italy

In 2015, in current price terms Italy's gross domestic expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) was nearly 22,2 billion euro. It increased by 1.7% compared to 2014. In constant price terms, it increased by 0.9%.

The R&D intensity (the ratio of GERD to GDP) was 1.34%, as observed in 2014.

The expenditure on intramural Research and Development increased on the previous year for the Business enterprises (+4.4%) and the Private non-profit sector (6.8%), while Government and Higher education sectors registered a reduction (respectively -1.7% and -2.8%)

The private component of expenditure on the intramural R&D (Business enterprises+Private non-profit sector) increased, rising from 59.7% of total R&D spent in 2014 to 61.4% in 2015. The contribution of government fell by 0.5 percentage points (from 13.6% to 13.1%). The contribution of the Higher education sector was 25.5% (26.7% in 2014).

In 2015 the number of public and private employees involved in R&D activities (measured in terms of "full-time equivalent units") amounted to 259,167 units; it increased by 3.9% compared to 2014. Growth covered all the four sectors with different values: +7.1% in Private no profit institutions,+5.8% in Business enterprises, +2.2 in the Higher education sector and +0.4% in the Public institutions.

In 2015 the number of researchers (in terms of full-time equivalents) was equal to 125,875 units, a 6.5% increase compared to 2014. The growth was visible in all the four sectors, especially in Business enterprises (+13.9%) and Private non-profit sector (+7.0%).

The provisional data for 2016, given by the persons interviewed, showed a decrease in GERD both in current terms (-2.5% compared to 2015) and in constant price terms (-3.2%).

The provisional data for 2017, compared to the previous year, confirmed a -2.2% decrease for the Business enterprises, a rise for the Public institutions (+3.8%) and Private non profit sector (+0.8%).

The Italy's Government support for R&D activities, measured by the Government budget appropriations or outlay for R&D (GBAORD), grew compared to the forecast expenditure settled in 2015, passing from 8,4 billion euro to 8,6.

innovation, institutions, research and development, researchers, statistics report, technology, university
Industry and construction, Services
document typology:
Press release
Reference period
Years 2015-2017
Date of publication
17 November 2017
Full text
(pdf 151 KB)

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