Press Release 14/12/2018


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Expenditure on biotechnology R&D reached its highest level in 2017, after growing by 10.1%

Expenditure on biotechnology R&D accounted for 6.8% of total R&D expenditure and 56.5% was funded by the Public Administration

In 2017, internal expenditure on R&D for activities related to biotechnology increased to 93.2 million euros, 10.1% higher than in 2016, according to Eustat data. This expenditure represented 6.8% of total internal expenditure on R&D. The number of people employed rose to 2,116, 1,346 of whom were in full-time equivalent jobs, accounting for 7.2% of staff in Full-time Equivalent Jobs in R&D. These statistics, both for biotechnology expenditure and for employees in full-time equivalent jobs, were the highest in the historical series.

Compared to the previous year, expenditure on both biotechnology R&D and people employed in Full-time Equivalent Jobs increased, by 10.1% and 9.0% respectively. The number of researchers employed in Full-Time Equivalent Jobs, 1,031 individuals, also increased, in this case by 6.9%.

As demonstrated in previous years, women were particularly noteworthy in this branch of R&D, as they represented 59.5% of the total full-time staff employed in biotechnology in 2017.

A total of 103 entities carried out research activities in biotechnology in 2017, of which 89 belonged to the Business sector. Moreover, 67 of these 103 entities earmarked more than half their internal expenditure for biotechnology R&D.

Businesses were responsible for 63% of internal expenditure

As in previous years, the Business sector was the sector that presented the highest percentage of total internal expenditure on R&D activities relating to biotechnology (63.0%), and this proportion was 1.4 percentage points higher than the same figure in 2016 (61.6%).

The other sectors, Higher Education (30.6%) and Public Administration (6.4%), carried out 37.0% of the remaining expenditure for 2017, a percentage that stood at 38.4% in 2016.


The public administration financed 56.5% of biotechnology R&D activity

According to the origin of the funds, internal R&D activities relating to biotechnology in 2017 were funded mainly by the Public Administration (56.5%) and Business (28.6%). The remainder was financed via funds originating from overseas (9.3%), from Higher Education (4.9%) and Private Non-Profit Institutions (0.7%).

As regards the areas of application for the products obtained as a result of biotechnology research, Human Health (74.0%) and Nutrition (8.9%) both stood out. The remaining 17.1% was divided in similar percentages between the other areas - Environment, Industry, Animal Health & Aquaculture and Agriculture & Forestry Production.

Time/cost and access to capital stood out as the main obstacles for carrying out R&D activities in biotechnology

Finally, there were still obstacles that inhibited the advancement of research and marketing activities relating to biotechnology products and processes in 2017, especially time/cost and access to capital to carry out R&D, with 91.3% and 87.4% respectively. In third place were regulatory requirements with 79.6%.


For further information:

Eustat - Euskal Estatistika Erakundea / Basque Statistics Institute C/ Donostia-San Sebastián, 1 01010 Vitoria-Gasteiz Press Service: Tel: 945 01 75 62

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Expenditure on biotechnology R&D reached its highest level in 2017, after growing by 10.1%

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