Aaviksoo Concerned Private Sector Lagging in Research Spending ({{commentsTotal}})

Minister of Education and Research Jaak Aaviksoo said he was concerned by the private sector's modest investment in innovation.

Statistics Estonia recently revealed that R&D spending as a share of GDP declined last year, despite the economic growth. In 2011, the ruling parties signed a coalition agreement that aimed to raise R&D spending to 3 percent of GDP.

Aaviksoo told uudised.err.ee that Estonia's R&D activity has been among the fastest growing in Europe, with spending surpassing the European average in 2011.

"Reaching the 3 percent spending mark is a pan-European goal and a very ambitious aim that has been in place since 1999," Aaviksoo said.

"In Estonia, the state's contribution has constantly grown and grew last year as well, by a full 16 percent, which is far more than other public sector cost increases," he said.

Last week, SEB's Business Barometer 2014 also indicated that investment and innovation is lagging, despite projected growth in turnovers.

The survey found that the share of companies planning investments in excess of 30,000 euros had decreased from 48 percent this year to 41 percent next year. Plans for innovation also diminished, from 62 percent to 59 percent. The most innovative sector was industry, where half of all firms planned innovation.

SEB concluded that investment was down mainly among companies focusing on the domestic market.