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Government budget allocations for R&D 2019:

An estimated SEK 37 billion of the central state budget is allocated for R&D in 2019

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2019-04-11 9.30

In 2019, funds for research and development (R&D) in the central government budget is estimated at SEK 37 billion. This corresponds to 3.6 percent of total appropriations in the central government budget and 0.75 percent of GDP. This forecast means that government funding for R&D will be SEK 805 million more than in the forecast for 2018. The forecast is based on the provisional budget of 2019.

The central government budget is grouped into 27 expenditure areas. Appropriations to government agencies include funding for their R&D activities. Government agencies can carry out the R&D activities or finance R&D activities with an external provider. Education and academic research, Defence and contingency measures and Labour market and working life are the three expenditure areas in the central government budget that account for most of the increase. These are expected to increase by SEK 304 million, SEK 114 million and SEK 99 million, respectively.

Percentage of funding in the central government budget to R&D, 1998-2019

Chart Percentage of funding in the central government budget to R&D, 1998-2019

Half of all R&D funds are allocated to higher education

In the central government budget, R&D appropriations are grouped by recipient. According to this year’s forecast, 50 percent of R&D appropriations in the central government budget go to institutions of higher education, which makes them the largest recipient of R&D funds. Thirty percent of the funds go to research-financing government agencies, 17 percent go to public administration agencies, while defence agencies are estimated to receive four percent of the total R&D budget. Government R&D funding is expected to increase among all recipients and public administration agencies and institutions of higher education account for most of this increase. These are expected to increase by SEK 225 million and SEK 208 million respectively.

Recipients of R&D appropriations, as percentage of total R&D 2019

Chart Recipients of R&D appropriations, as percentage of total R&D

Most funding for the general advancement of knowledge in medical and health sciences

R&D funding is grouped by the objectives of the R&D. General advancement of knowledge is the single largest objective and accounts for 71 percent of R&D funding in the central government budget. This objective is expected to increase by over SEK 155 million compared with the forecast for 2018. Universities, institutions of higher education and the Swedish Research Council are the main recipients of funding for this purpose. General scientific development is divided into six research areas, in accordance with the 2011 Swedish Standard Classification of Research Subjects, in which the area of medical and health sciences accounts for 24 percent of the R&D appropriations, which is the largest share.

Appropriations for general advancement of knowledge, SEK billions, 2019

Chart Appropriations to general advancement of knowledge, Billion SEK


In conjunction with the publication of the 2019 forecast, R&D appropriations for 2017 and 2018 under the expenditure areas The justice system and Defence and contingency measures have been revised. The reason for this revision is previously reported R&D expenditures that had been over-estimated. This year’s forecast is not affected by these revisions.


The forecast for GDP in 2019 is taken from Swedish National Institute of Economic Research forecast database, March 2019.

Definitions and explanations

Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative and systematic work undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge – including knowledge of humankind, culture and society – and to devise new applications of available knowledge.

For an activity to be an R&D activity, it must satisfy five core criteria. The activity must be:

  • Novel
  • Creative
  • Uncertain
  • Systematic
  • Transferable and/or reproducible


The forecast is based on the provisional budget of 2019.

The “Government budget allocations for R&D” survey, on which these statistics are based, highlights how much of the central government budget is used to fund R&D. Unlike regular surveys on R&D activities in various sectors of society carried out every two years, this survey provides an up-to-date forecast of central government appropriations for R&D.

The survey follows guidelines prepared by the OECD and published in the Frascati Manual – Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development (OECD, 2015). These statistics are also subject to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 995/2012.

The survey results also include a forecast of R&D disbursements by public research foundations. These funds are presented separately and are not included in the report on total R&D funds in the central government budget.

Next publishing will be

The next statistical news in this series is scheduled for publishing in April 2020.

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

Statistical agency and producer

Statistics Sweden, Innovation, Business sector production and Research section



Petter Ehn Wingårdh

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Rickard Bengtsberg

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