Expenditure on R&D in Malta barely exceeds half a point of GDP

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In 2019, total expenditure on Research and Development amounted to €80.0 million, or 0.6 per cent of GDP, reflecting an increase of €5.4 million, or 7.3 per cent, was registered, the NSO reported today.

The Business Enterprise sector contributed 62.0 per cent to total R&D, whereas the Higher Education and Government sectors contributed 37.0 and 1.0 per cent respectively .The R&D expenditure was primarily dedicated to Basic Research, which accounted for 51.3 per cent of total R&D in 2019, followed by Applied Research (34.4 per cent) and Experimental Development (14.3 per cent).

The NSO found that in 2019, both the Business Enterprise and the Higher Education sectors reported an increase in R&D expenditure compared to 2018. The higher R&D expenditure was mainly triggered by higher outlays by the Higher Education sector on recurrent expenditure of €1.8 million, while capital expenditure for these sectors increased by €2.8 million and €1.1 million, respectively.

On the other hand, the Government sector experienced a drop of €0.1 million from 2018. Labour costs represented 62.3 per cent of total R&D expenditure, followed by Other recurrent expenditure (25.3 per cent) and Capital expenditure (12.3 per cent). In 2019, the highest R&D expenditure was recorded in Engineering and technology, which accounted for 43.8 per cent of total expenditure, followed by Natural sciences (25.3 per cent) and Medical sciences (13.8 per cent).

The majority of the R&D activity in Engineering and technology and Natural sciences was undertaken in the Business Enterprise sector, whereas research in relation to Medical and Social sciences was mainly carried out by the Higher Education sector. Year-on-year comparisons show that the highest increase was registered in Engineering and technology

2,570 work on R&D

In 2019, 2,570 employees were engaged in R&D work, of whom 1,538 spent a portion of their time on R&D projects, while the remaining 1,032 employees dedicated their entire working time on R&D projects. The highest R&D employment was registered in the Higher Education sector, at 1,408 employees, followed by the Business Enterprise sector, with 1,129 employees. Male employment was predominant among researchers and technicians. Females accounted for 35.7 per cent of total R&D employment.