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Research and development in the higher education sector, 2015:

R&D expenditures in the higher education sector amounted to SEK 37 billion in 2015

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2016-10-28 9.30

R&D expenditures in the higher education sector, including both universities and higher education institutions, continued the rising trend in 2015. In constant 2015 prices, the increase in expenditures exceeded SEK 1.5 billion compared with 2013. Over 40 percent of its funding came from government appropriations. Karolinska Institutet spent the most on R&D, followed by Lund University and Uppsala University. More than half of the total expenditures were made by the five universities that spent the most on R&D.

R&D expenditures in the higher education sector increased by 4.5 percent between 2013 and 2015, which is a modest growth compared with previous years. Investments accounted for almost six percent of expenditures, while current costs accounted for 94 percent. Investments increased by 23 percent, although the increase in current costs was the main contributor to expenditure growth.

As in previous years, medical and health sciences obtained one third of R&D expenditures. The distribution of funds among the different fields of R&D was the same as in 2013, with the exception of social sciences, which decreased its share by one percentage point, while natural sciences increased.

Government appropriations were the largest source of funds, although public research councils and private non-profit organisations increased their funding the most. Together, they increased funding by approximately SEK 960 million, amounting to almost 81 percent of the total increase in current costs. The sector’s R&D funding from the EU decreased by SEK 73 million.

R&D expenditure 2005–2015, million SEK and percentage change compared with previous year


The survey regarding R&D in the higher education sector is biennial.

Definitions and explanations

R&D Expenditures

R&D expenditures include current expenditures and investments for intramural R&D. Current expenditures refer to labour costs, consultant fees, and other current expenditures. Investments include Buildings, land and real estate, Machinery and equipment, and Software.

Public Research Councils

Public research councils include the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Council for Health, Working life and Welfare, and the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning.

Next publishing will be

The next publication will be on 16 December regarding R&D personnel in the higher education sector.

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


ICT, Business cycle and R&D unit



Elsa Söderholm

+46 10 479 42 95