Analysis: Estonia failing to meet research and development goals

The ministry points out in its analysis that Estonia's companies are still innovating too little, and that investment in R&D is actually shrinking, not increasing. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Although several indicators show Estonian scientists doing very well, a large number of goals set for 2020 in the field of research and development (R&D) will not be met, the results of a 2017 analysis published on Wednesday show.

"Looking at the EU's three-year average, Estonia has received 1.3 times as much research funding per resident from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework program. Estonian research is strong, but cooperation with businesses and the innovative capability of companies are still low," the conclusion of a 2017 analysis of the Ministry of Education and Research says.

Estonian scientists published more than 1,600 high-level articles per one million residents in 2016, which meets the goal set for 2020. At the same time, investments in research and development have declined. While in 2011 2.31% of Estonia's gross domestic product (GDP) was invested in R&D, by 2016 this had shrunk to 1.28%.

Estonia is in the third group of the European Innovation Board, ranking 13th-15th in recent years, and the country's position is weakening. This means that Estonia has fallen into the group of Moderate Innovators, and Estonia's 15th place in 2017 is even weaker than what it scored in previous years. "It is not very likely that Estonia would make 10th place by 2020," the report comments on the country's chances to meet the goal it set for itself at the beginning of the program.

The results of the study also show that the growth in the number of Estonia's doctoral students will soon slow, and that Estonia will not reach the goal of defending 300 doctoral theses or dissertations a year.

A positive indication is Estonia's ability to export high-tech products and services. The share of such exports has exceeded 14% of total exports over the past four years, in 2014 exceeding the EU average as well as the 15% goal Estonia has set for 2020.


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Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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