Czech spending on research and development broke records last year

New data from the Czech Statistical Office shows that spending on R&D in 2021 was the highest in Czech history. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 02.11.2022 12:17:00 (updated on 02.11.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Spending on research and development (R&D) hit a record-breaking CZK 122 billion in 2021, according to the Czech Statistical Office (CZSO). This signifies an increase of 7.5 percent year on year, rising by CZK 8.5 billion from the 2020 level.

In 2011, expenditure on R&D in Czechia stood at just CZK 63 billion.

CZSO chairman Marek Rojíček said that last year's figures are a milestone marking "the first time when the share of R&D expenditure in relation to GDP has reached the threshold of two percent.” Germany and Austria are among the leaders of R&D spending in Europe, with the field surpassing 3 percent of their respective national GDP.

Most of the public R&D funds were directed toward the nation’s universities and workplaces affiliated with the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Almost CZK 48 billion was given to domestic and foreign public sources, with the EU contributing CZK 7.8 billion.

Around 2,800 companies currently participate in R&D in the country – their total expenditure on this was CZK 76.6 billion. Information technology (IT) is among the fastest-growing sectors in R&D.

“Companies operating in the field of programming and providing IT services spent CZK 19.2 billion on research and development in 2021, half more than three years ago," according to Martin Mana, director of the CZSO's development statistics department.

The business sector makes up the largest part of R&D in Czechia, followed by the higher-education and governmental sectors. The non-profit sector makes up a marginal share of the whole R&D industry in Czechia.

About 122,000 people were employed in the field of R&D at the end of 2021, a year-on-year increase of 3 percent. The proportion of men greatly outweighs women, with just 31 percent of females employed in the sector, which encompasses male-dominated industries such as IT.

Foreigners make up 12 percent of all researchers at university, according to CZSO. Slovaks are the most represented, with Indians in second place. Russians and Ukrainians are the next most represented groups, although CZSO explains that following Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, this may no longer be the case. 

According to the World Bank, the highest spenders on R&D as a share of GDP are Israel (5.4 percent), South Korea (4.8), and Sweden (3.5).

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