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R&D in Iceland

  • Government contribution to research and
    innovation, as stated in the national budget,
    in fixed 2010 prices, amounted to 17,4 billion
    ISK(ca.106 MEUR) in 2010 and 15,3 billion
    ISK (ca. 94 MEUR) in 2011. Approximately
    40% of the contribution was allocated to the
    higher education sector and 30% to various
    public institutions.
  • In 2011, public competitive funding to research and
    innovation amounted to two billion ISK
    (ca. 12 MEUR). Public competitive funding
    accounted for 17% of the total R&D expenditure.
  • The European Union, in 2007 to 2010, allocated four billion ISK
    (ca. 24 MEUR) to Icelandic partners participating in the EU's 7th
    Framework Programme.
  • In 2007, 7,8% of the GDP in Iceland was allocated to educational
    institutions, this share is alittle over the OECD average. Icelanders
    allocate proportionallyrelatively less to tertiary education and relatively
    more to primary, secondary and post-secondary education compared to other
    OECD countries.
  • 31% of Icelanders, 25 to 64 years old, have tertiary education, which is a little above the OECD average of 28% of people in this age range with tertiary education.
  • In 2009, 82 Icelanders graduated with a doctorate degree. Women were in majority of graduates (63%).
  • In 2009, R&D expenditure in Iceland amounted to 46,5 billion ISK (ca. 214 MEUR). As a share of the GDP, R&D expenditure accounted for 3,1%.
  • Iceland ranked fifth among OECD countries for the R&D/GDP ratio.
  • The total R&D expenditure in fixed priced has increased by 700 hundred million ISK (4 MEUR) since 2007. However the GDP has decreased by 200 million ISK (ca. 1 MEUR) since 2007.
  • Of all sectors, R&D expenditure was highest in the health sector in 2009.
  • In 2009, 49% of the total expenditure on R&D was financed by the private sector, 40% by the government and 10% of the funding came from abroad.
  • In total 5.500 persons performed R&D in Iceland in 2009, accounting for approximately four thousand full time equivalents (FTE). Most of the FTE's (42%) were performed within the private sector.
  • 76% of the FTE's were performed by researchers and mostly men performed the R&D.
  • 57% of Icelandic firms, with at least four employees, took part in innovative activities during 2006 to 2008.
  • Iceland has shown the largest increase (900%) in the publication of articles in peer reviewed journals in relative terms since the early 1980s. The relative growth of other Nordic countries has been considerably lower.
  • The number of Icelandic patent applications to the European Patent Office has increased by 40% in a ten year period, from 13,7 applications per hundred thousand inhabitants in 2001 to 22 applications in 2010.

(Compiled by RANNIS in 2010)

Electronic, pdf version can be downloaded HERE

Last updated: January 21st 2013

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The Icelandic Centre for Research
The Icelandic Government Information Centre
Intercultural Centre
Innovation Center Iceland
Norden - Official co-operation in the Nordic region - Gateway to Iceland
Multivultural and Information Centre
Eures in Iceland
Directorate of Internal Revenue
FP7 People Calls
FP7 People Co-funded Calls


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