In 2018, companies, institutions and higher education in the Netherlands spent approximately 16.7 billion euros on Research and Development (R&D) with their own and hired staff. This is the highest level of expenditure ever for the country. The province of Noord-Brabant is a leader in the field of private R&D spending. Companies such as Philips, ASML, NXP and VDL are largely responsible for this. This is apparent from new preliminary figures from CBS on R&D and from the recently published publication ICT, Kennis en Economie.
In 2018, expenditure on R&D by companies, institutions and the higher education sector on both own and hired personnel increased by approximately 4 percent. Corporate spending increased by 576 million euros to 11.2 billion euros compared to 2017. Spending by institutions grew by 56 million euro to 968 million euro. Expenditure in higher education increased by 44 million euro to nearly 4.6 billion euro.
R&D intensity in the Netherlands stable
By comparing R&D expenditure with gross domestic product, the R&D intensity can be calculated. This R&D intensity amounted to 2.16 percent in 2018. The R&D intensity is therefore 0.02 percentage points lower than in 2017, but 0.01 percentage points higher than in previous years.
With an R&D intensity of 2.16 percent in 2018, the Netherlands scores slightly above the European average of 2.11 percent. Sweden, Austria and Belgium spend a similar amount on R&D as the Netherlands, but due to lower GDP, the R&D intensity in these countries is higher. Due to a lower population, their spending per inhabitant is also higher. The United Kingdom and Italy spend more on R&D, but the R&D intensity is lower in these countries than in the Netherlands. France also spends more, but the R&D intensity in France is comparable to that of the Netherlands. Germany is much larger than the Netherlands in terms of both absolute and relative size of investments in R&D.
More than 30 percent of private R&D expenditure is accounted for by companies in the province of Noord-Brabant. Together with companies from Noord-Holland, they will account for almost half of the private R&D expenditure in 2017. Zuid-Holland is in third place. It is customary to compare private R&D expenditure with GDP in order to gain insight into the contribution to R&D intensity coming from the business sector. In the Netherlands, this contribution was 1.44 percent in 2017. In Brabant this was 3%.
In the Brainport Eindhoven region, the R&D activity of companies is the largest. More than 2.4 billion euro was spent on R&D with own and hired personnel. Within North Holland, the Greater Amsterdam region is dominant. Approximately 70 percent of the R&D activities of companies in North Holland take place in that region. Groot-Rijnmond and the agglomeration of The Hague together account for almost half of the R&D activities of companies in Zuid-Holland. In Zeeland and Drenthe, the R&D expenditure compared to the gross regional product is the lowest.