R&D Spending in Bulgaria Up in 2015, Mostly Driven by Businesses
Expenditure on research and development (R&D) activity in Bulgaria increased by nearly a quarter compared to the year before, preliminary national statistics show.
The total amount allocated to R&D was BGN 847, which is 27.4% more than in 2014.
R&S intensity - its value as % of GDP - also went up, rising to 0.96% last year. It was 0.79% in 2014.
This is still below the EU 2020 standards, under which total expenditure on R&D is to reach at least 3%.
Bulgaria will seek to attain half of this figure, or 1.5%, by the time, possibly raising it to 2% until 2025. R&D value as share of GDP was nearly doubled since 2011, when it was BGN 429.6 M (0.53% of the economy).
Almost all of the growth in 2015 was due to the business enterprise sector where expenditure on R&D increased by BGN 183.7 M BGN or 42.0%.
The business enterprise sector was the largest of the four institutional sectors of R&D performance, accounting for 73.3% of the total expenditure. It was followed by the government sector, higher education sector and private non-profit sector with share of 20.8%, 5.4% and 0.5% respectively.
R&D activity was financed from the state budget, businesses, other national sources and from abroad. Foreign sources of funds continued to have the largest share in the R&D funding in Bulgaria - in 2015 it amounted to 44.0% of total R&D expenditure.
At the same time the highest growth rate was that of R&D funds coming from the business enterprise sector, they have doubled compared to the previous 2014 and accounted for 35.3% of total R&D expenditure in the country
Applied research was prevalent in the structure of current R&D expenditure by type of research in 2015, as in the previous year, its share being 66.8% (BGN 488.9 M), followed by experimental development and basic research - with share of 23.9% (BGN 174.8 M) and 9.3% (BGN 68.5 M) respectively.
The number of people employed with R&D activity as a full-time assignment increased last year to 22 421, 16% up compared to 2014. While the share of women (48) in that personnel was slightly lower, a 3.4% payment gap was observed in favour of men.
For the first time in 2015, the main part of the scientific staff is concentrated in companies and research institutes in the business enterprise sector - 42.0% of the total staff (in full time equivalent) or 9 409 persons.
In organizations and institutions of the government sector in scientific activities were involved 8 328 people, which constitutes 37.1% of the total R&D personnel in 2015. In the higher education sector 4 521 persons were engaged in research and development, their share is 20.2%.
The growth rate in 2015 compared to 2014 of business R&D expenditure (42.0%) and R&D personnel in business enterprise sector (73.2%) is mostly due to the large number of new R&D performing companies in 2015.
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