Sweden's innovation system

Swedish R&D in figures

For a long time Sweden has been one of the top countries in the world in terms of R&D investments, in relation to GDP. R&D in the business sector rank in the highest division, and the research performed by Swedish universities is at the absolute top, also in relation to GDP.  By contrast, the research performed by research institutes is small compared to other countries. In 2009*, Swedish investments in R&D comprised about SEK 112 billion, or around 3.6 per cent of GDP.

More about Swedish R&D ventures in an international perspective

A large share of the R&D in Sweden is performed in industry. In 2009 industrial investments amounted to SEK 77 billion, or nearly 70 per cent of all R&D.

Most of the R&D that is not performed in industry is carried out by universities and university colleges (henceforth, “universities”). In 2009 this research totalled about SEK 28 billion, which is about 25 per cent of the total R&D. R&D at industrial research institutes amounted to 1.7 billion in 2009. The remaining R&D was conducted by government authorities, county councils and municipalities, as well as private non-profit organisations.

More about where R&D investments have been made

In 2012 research financed by the state is expected to reach 30.3 billion of which 2.5 billion is related to defence R&D. The R&D funding of the research foundations is estimated to 1.3 billion for 2012. In the same year government-funded R&D grants to Vinnova comprise SEK 2.0 billion, or about 6.5 per cent of all R&D financed by the government.

More about public R&D financing

In Sweden the share of research funded by industry at universities is small in an international comparison. Besides pure contract research Swedish universities also carry out collaborative research with industry in specific programmes that has been initiated by a number of actors, including Vinnova.

More about the cooperation between universities and industry

* The above figures are taken from the Statistics Sweden records on research costs, which are compiled every other year. The figures for 2011 are expected to be published around 2012/2013.

About us

Vinnova is Sweden’s innovation agency. We promote sustainable growth by improving the conditions for innovation and by funding needs-driven research.

We promote collaborations between companies, universities, research institutes and the public sector. We do this by stimulating a greater use of research, by making long-term investment in strong research and innovation environments and by developing catalytic meeting places. Our activities also focus on strengthening international cooperation.

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