Sources & Methods


Statistics on Research and Development (R&D) in the Business Sector describe the characteristics of businesses that invest in Research and Development.  For the Business Enterprise Sector, variables on the number of R&D personnel in head count, number of researchers in head count, number of R&D personnel in full time equivalent, number of researchers in full time equivalent, and intramural R&D expenditure are reported.  These variables are broken down by various characteristics including sex, occupation, qualification, major field of science, age group and headcount group.  R&D statistics are compiled under the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1197 of 30 July 2020. 

Methodological description of survey

Data for R&D is collected by means of a paper questionnaire that is sent to those enterprises known to be performing R&D.  A list of such enterprises is obtained from internal sources by means of the Community Innovation Survey and from external administrative data sources.  This is based on recommendations provided in the Frascati manual.  NACE Rev. 2 is used to for the NACE classification.  Intramural R&D expenditure is reported in Euros whereas the other variables are expressed in units.  Data for R&D is reported on a yearly basis.

Accuracy and reliability of data

Information on the accuracy and reliability of data can be viewed in a dedicated quality report available on the NSO’s metadata website. 

Timeliness and punctuality of data

Data for R&D for reference year N is transmitted to Eurostat in two phases.  The first transmission consists of the preliminary data and is transmitted to Eurostat by the end of October of year N+1 (10 months from the end of the reference year) while the final data is transmitted to Eurostat by the end of June of year N+2 (18 months from the end of the reference year), so as to satisfy the requirements of the regulation mentioned above. 

The R&D News Release is published on a yearly basis on the NSO’s website, normally within two years after the end of the reference period.  This is published on the pre-established date as scheduled in the Advance Release Calendar which is available on the NSO’s website. 

The data transmitted to Eurostat and published in the News Release is also broken down by the other R&D sectors, namely the Higher Education sector and the Government sector. 

Accessibility and clarity of data

R&D data can be accessed from Eurostat’s database.  An ESQRS metadata report is transmitted to Eurostat 20 months from the end of the reference year (N+20 months) while a quality report is transmitted to Eurostat 22 months from the end of the reference year (N+22 months).  Both reports are sent to Eurostat every two years.  An ESQRS metadata report is also published on the NSO website. 

Coherence and comparability/consistency of data

R&D data is comparable as from 2004 onwards.  However, this data is not comparable to other surveys.  This data could also be compared to that of other countries.


Other Documents Format
R&D Questionnaire for Businesses
Inflation Calculator News releases calendar Request for Information NACE Code queries
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