Research and development

Research and development (R&D) aim at acquiring new knowledge or using existing knowledge in a novel way. For example, it is the improvement of a product or work process. R&D ends when the main product is developed and the focus is shifted to production planning or market expansion. The main features of R&D are novelty, creativity, ambiguity, systematicity and transferability.

Novelty means discovering something new, and with that goal in mind, researchers carry out studies at universities and research institutes. In business, novelty refers to new discoveries or technologies that have not been used in the field or industry. Creativity refers to new approaches and ideas that complement existing knowledge. The input of researchers is certainly also needed to meet the requirement of creativity.

There is always a certain amount of ambiguity in R&D, as it is often difficult to assess the end result, time spent or gains. It should be possible to put research results into practice, and other researchers should be able to replicate them in future projects. Systematicity is assumed: the process and results must always be documented.

Research and development statistics provide information on

  • the size of investments in R&D;
  • state funding of R&D.

The statistics allow evaluating the volume of research and development in research institutes and enterprises, and to plan and monitor it at the national level.

R&D expenditure 550.96 million euros
14.57%
2021
Expenditures for basic research 105.39 million euros
13.76%
2021
Expenditures for applied research 174.65 million euros
20.74%
2021
Expenditures for experimental development 270.92 million euros
11.21%
2021
Expenditures financed from government funds 203.76 million euros
14.56%
2021
Share of R&D expenditure in GDP 1.8 %
2021
Scientists and engineers by gender | 2012–2021
Total R&D expenditures and R&D expenditures financed from government funds | 2007–2021
Share of R&D expenditure in GDP | 2007–2021
News

Research and development in Estonia is driven by the business sector

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2019, the expenditures on research and development (R&D) in Estonia amounted to 453 million euros, which is 24% more than in 2018. The share of R&D expenditures in the gross domestic product was 1.61%, making it the highest share in the last five years.
Read more 2. December 2020

On 8 December, the phone line of Statistics Estonia’s customer support is open until 12:00 pm. We apologise for the inconvenience.