23.2.2024 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The statistics on research and development describe the human resources, expenditure and financing of research and development (R&D). R&D data are reviewed by sector, industry and region. The statistics are based on data obtained from enterprises, public sector organisations, research institutions, higher education institutions and non-profit organisations in the private sector. The recommendations of the OECD and the EU are observed in the compilation of the statistics.

Statistical population

In the business enterprise sector, the target population consists of enterprises operating in Finland with some limitations in terms of size. The frame is the business register maintained by Statistics Finland. The basic element of data collection is a panel monitored on an annual basis. The panel is composed of business enterprises which have reported R&D activities in the previous year’s survey and business enterprises which have received product development funding from Business Finland. Data on other business enterprises making up the statistical population are collected with a sample. The sample serves to update the panel, i.e. business enterprises reporting R&D activities transfer to the panel the following year. The sampling frame consists of the business enterprises remaining in the frame after the panel has been formed. 

In the government and private non-profit sectors, the statistical unit is composed of units which have reported R&D activities in the previous survey. The panel is also regularly supplemented with units which can justifiably be expected to engage in research activities. In practice, the public sector’s R&D statistics can be considered to be a complete enumeration. 

The higher education sector’s target statistical population is made up of universities, university hospitals, universities of applied sciences and the National Defence University, comparable to universities. The sector of higher education may also include public or private research institutions closely integrated into the research conducted by institutions of higher education. The statistics represent a complete enumeration in terms of their coverage.

Statistical unit

In the sector of business enterprises, the statistical unit is primarily an enterprise (enterprise) unit. However, the data are collected from legal units and summed to the enterprise unit level. In some cases, the statistical unit is the part of a group operating in Finland. In the government sector, the statistical unit is a research institute, ministry, municipality or agency. In the private non-profit sector, the statistical unit is a fund or foundation. In the sector of higher education, the statistical unit is a university, university of applied sciences or a university hospital. The sector of higher education may also include public or private research institutions closely integrated into the research conducted by institutions of higher education. In universities, calculation is also carried out on the level of departments (area of responsibility).

Unit of measure

R&D personnel: number; working hours spent on R&D: R&D in full-time equivalents (FTE); R&D expenditure and other data in money terms: data collection EUR 1,000, release EUR 1 million (in some cases, EUR 1,000).

Reference period

The reference period of the statistics is a calendar year.

Reference area

Research and development activities carried out in Finland. The regional data are collected on the municipal level but are published on a regional level in accordance with the annual regional classifications of Statistics Finland.

Sector coverage

Sectors of the economy pursuant to the OECD’s guidelines:
Business enterprises
Public sector (central government, other public institutions and local government)
Private non-profit sector
Higher education (universities, university hospitals, universities of applied sciences and the National Defence University, comparable to universities). The sector of higher education may also include public or private research institutions closely integrated into the research conducted by institutions of higher education.

Time coverage

The statistics on research and development have been compiled since 1971. On the overall level and in terms of the sum totals of the principal sectors (business enterprises, universities, public sector), the comparability in the time series is fairly good. R&D statistics in OECD and EU Member States are likewise relatively well comparable.

Frequency of dissemination

The statistics are published annually.

Concepts

Extramural research and development

Extramural R&D means R&D projects or services which have been acquired outside of the unit and which from the point of view of the service provider are its intramural R&D. Extramural R&D is characterized by the fact that the developer largely determines the implementation of the project content.

Other R&D personnel

Other R&D staff includes technical experts, other personnel carrying out R&D tasks (e.g. laboratory technicians, computer programmers) and staff providing other kinds of support for R&D projects.

R&D in full-time equivalents (FTE)

R&D on full-time equivalents refers to the amount of time spent on R&D work during one year of full-time work (including holidays).

Research and development activity

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.

The five criteria for identifying R&D:

To be aimed at new findings (novel)
The aim of the R&D is to produce new knowledge and novelties. Mere application of the existing knowledge in development of new solutions, products or procedures is not R&D activity.

To be based on original, not obvious, concepts and hypotheses (creative)
Characteristic to R&D activity is creativity, setting and testing of new hypothesis and concepts. Routine activities in the development of products, processes or other procedures in not R&D activity.

To be uncertain about the final outcome (uncertain)
R&D involves uncertainty regarding outcomes and costs.

To be planned and budgeted (systematic)
R&D is conducted in a planned way, with records kept of both the process followed and the outcome. The purpose of the R&D project and the sources of funding for the R&D performed should be identified. R&D is often organized as a project, but it can also be goal-oriented activity of a person or a group.

To lead to results that could be possibly reproduced (transferable and/or reproducible)
An R&D project should result in the potential for the transfer of the new knowledge which also can be reproduced.

Distribution by type of R&D

Basic research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.

Applied research is original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge. It is, however, directed primarily towards a specific, practical aim or objective.

Experimental development is systematic work, drawing on knowledge gained from research and practical experience and producing additional knowledge, which is directed to producing new products or processes or to improving existing products or processes.

Research and development expenditure

Labour costs of internal R&D personnel
Share of R&D work in annual wages according to R&D person-years. Labour costs include actual wages, fringe benefits in actual value, holiday pay and holiday bonuses. They also include social security payments, contributions to unemployment insurance and compulsory and voluntary pension contributions.

Materials, equipment and other current expenditure
Materials and equipment needed for R&D activities including acquisition of machinery and equipment with operating life at most one year. Other current expenditure includes the share of R&D activity in cost items such as buildings and premises, information technology, travel and administrative costs (also labour costs of administrative and maintenance personnel, which are not included in the R&D wages).

Purchased services
Purchases of services integrated into enterprise's own R&D activities. Services that are produced by external personnel, but which are closely linked to the intramural R&D of an enterprise. They may include software services, consultancy and other planning services, which are not considered as intramural R&D activities from the point of view of the service provider.

Capital costs (acquisition of machinery, equipment, buildings and the like)
Acquisitions which serve R&D only are included in total, in other cases the share of R&D is estimated by the share of use for R&D purposes. Item covers also acquisition of software for R&D activities along with licence fees.

Research and development personnel

Internal R&D personnel are persons employed by the statistical unit and who contribute to the unit’s intramural R&D activities (at least 10% of their normal annual work time) by performing R&D or administrative, office or other support work that is directly linked to R&D work or R&D projects. This category does not include people belonging to central departments who have done general administrative or office work serving the whole unit.

Research and development personnel by function

Product development engineers, researchers or equivalent are persons whose job is to produce new knowledge or develop new applications in product, process or other development work. This category also includes people responsible for the managing and planning of the contents of R&D projects. Person performing only administrative activities linked to the R&D projects belong to the group other R&D staff. According to the R&D definition every statistical unit performing R&D has at least one person who is product development engineer, researcher or equivalent.

Other R&D staff includes technical experts, other personnel carrying out R&D tasks (e.g. laboratory technicians, computer programmers) and staff providing other kinds of support for R&D projects.

Researcher

Product development engineers, researchers or equivalent are persons whose job is to produce new knowledge or develop new applications in product, process or other development work. This category also includes people responsible for the managing and planning of the contents of R&D projects. Person performing only administrative activities linked to the R&D projects belong to the group other R&D staff. According to the R&D definition every statistical unit performing R&D has at least one person who is product development engineer, researcher or equivalent.

University

In the statistics on university education universities refer to educational institutions belonging to type 42 of educational institutions. Lower (bachelor's) and higher (master's) level university degrees can be attained in universities, as well as further academic degrees, e.g. licentiate's or doctor's degrees. Universities also provide continuing education and open university teaching.

University of applied sciences

In the statistics on university of applied sciences education, a university of applied sciences education means and educational institution in category 41 of the classification of educational institutions. Students of university of applied sciences education can obtain university of applied sciences degrees and higher university of applied sciences degrees. University of applied sciences are maintained by municipalities, or by municipal or private limited companies or foundations.

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The R&D panel design of the business sector means that the statistics’ coverage in terms of the volume of R&D activities can be deemed good. In other sectors, the statistics represent a complete enumeration.

Timeliness

The statistics on research and development are published annually. The release date occurs in the October following the statistical year (t+10); the minimum requirement of the regulation of the European Commission is t+18. An estimate of the sum total of R&D expenditure in business enterprises, the public sector and private non-profit sector as well as the higher education sector during the data collection year is published at the same time.  The estimates concerning the business sector and the public sector are based on the respondents’ reports on the budgeted R&D activities for the year in question. The estimate concerning the higher education sector is based on the development of the central government’s R&D funding and other calculations.

Punctuality

The release and data deliveries of the statistics on research and development accord with the target date.

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

The statistics’ regional data are produced with the regional classifications of Statistics Finland and Eurostat, and they are comparable nationally and internationally.

Comparability - over time

The statistics on research and development have been compiled since 1971. On the overall level and in terms of the sum totals of the principal sectors (business enterprises, universities, the public sector and private non-profit operations), the comparability in the time series is fairly good.

Changes in the time series

Business enterprises
Comparisons by industry in the business enterprise sector are complicated by changes in industrial classifications and by business enterprises which change their industry. On a rough industrial level, the time series is nevertheless fairly comparable from 1985 onwards.

From 1971 to 1983, business enterprises divided their responses according to the industrial unit (product group). As of 1985, according to the business enterprise’s main industry.

From 1998 to 2004, the source of financing for R&D expenditure ‘the group’s foreign units’ was incorporated to a business enterprise’s own financing, reducing the share of foreign financing. The reason for this was problems in the availability of data. The category was reclassified as of 2005.

In 2011, business enterprises of more than 100 employees were added from the following industries: 47, 55, 56, 68, 69, 75 to 88 and 96 to 99.

In 2020, a sample of business enterprises of 10 to 99 employees were added from the following industries: 47, 55, 56, 68, 69, 75 to 88 and 96 to 99.

Public sector and private non-profit sector:
The data prior to 1983 are not comparable to a subsequent time series in all respects.

The biggest municipalities were added to the statistics in 2007.

The ‘own funding’ source of funding for research expenditure was divided as of 2017 to:  1) basic funding (funding from state or municipal budgets) and 2) own funding (e.g. business operations, fund raising, investment and financing operations as well as profit from own funds and foundations).

Institutions of higher education:
The data prior to 1983 are not comparable to a subsequent time series in all respects.

The share that research accounts for in the working hours of teachers and researchers was investigated with surveys conducted in 1983, from 1992 to 1993 and from 2004 to 2005. Based on these surveys, new shares of research by occupational title and field of R&D were defined for the calculation.

The number of individuals included in the higher education sector grew with university hospitals in 1997 and with universities of applied sciences in 1999.  Due to lack of data, the R&D in full-time equivalents in some universities’ basic funding were estimated in 2010.  The change in the higher education sector’s statistical method as of 2011 affects the comparability of the university data. In departure from previous time use surveys, the share of research was determined from administrative time use and working plan data.

The share that research accounts for in the time use of teachers and researchers was updated in terms of 2014. The update of the time-use coefficients in 2014 increased the share of research in terms of working hours, which contributes to an increase of R&D in full-time equivalents and research expenditure from 2013 to 2014.

The National Defence University, which was previously included in the public sector, was added to the higher education sector in 2016.

The update of universities’ time-use coefficients in terms of 2017 increased the share accounted for by research in the working hours of the universities’ research staff. This resulted in an increase of the higher education sector’s R&D in full-time equivalents and expenditure. The update of the time-use coefficients in 2021 did not have much effect on the number of R&D in full-time equivalents or amount of R&D expenditure.

Coherence - cross domain

The statistics on research and development describe expenditure in R&D activities. The statistics on government R&D funding in the state budget, on the other hand, describe public R&D funding. The public funding in the R&D expenditure statistics (outcome data) may not correspond to the public R&D funding (planned expenditure) in the R&D funding statistics. The basic definition of ‘R&D activities’ is the same for both statistics.

Source data and data collections

Source data

Business enterprises

Target population and sample
The data are collected with a digital form in a survey. The target statistical population consists of business enterprises operating in Finland. The frame is the business register maintained by Statistics Finland. The statistical unit is primarily a business enterprise. In some cases, the statistical unit is a group or part of an international group operating in Finland.

The basic element of data collection is a panel monitored on an annual basis. The panel is composed of business enterprises which have reported R&D activities in the previous year’s survey and business enterprises which have received product development funding from Business Finland. Data on other business enterprises making up the statistical frame population are collected with a sample. The sample serves to update the panel, i.e. business enterprises reporting R&D activities transfer to the panel the following year. 
 
The sampling frame consists of the business enterprises remaining in the frame after the panel has been formed. All business enterprises with at least 100 employees in the sampling frame are included in the survey. Business enterprises with 10 to 99 employees are subject to sampling. The sampling design is a simple random sampling stratified according to industry and size. Of business enterprises with fewer than ten employees, only the enterprises in the panel are included in the panel. The statistics covers all industries.

The survey was mailed in March 2022 and the 7,038 target enterprises had the possibility to respond to it online or a paper form, if necessary. A reminder was sent to those who had not responded after a month or so and another reminder was sent later. In addition, the most important big enterprises were contacted separately, if necessary.

Public sector and private non-profit sector

The R&D data of general government and private non-profit sector were collected with an electronic form from units engaged in R&D activities. The data collection began in March and non-respondents were sent two reminders.

Higher education sector

The data of universities of applied sciences, university hospitals and the National Defence University, comparable to universities, are collected as a complete enumeration with a direct questionnaire.

The statistics describing the research and development activities of universities is a complete enumeration composed of several different data sources. The statistics are produced by combining the data received from the following sources:

A separate survey conducted by Statistics Finland which makes university-specific inquiries concerning the grants allocated to the full-time work of the researchers in the areas of responsibility (departments), investments in R&D activities, the funding of research relying on external funding per the source of funds, and the expenditure of research conducted with a university’s own funds per area of responsibility. For the calculation of R&D personnel, cross-sectional data of the university’s personnel is collected according to the situation at the end of September.

The Ministry of Education and Culture’s collection of personnel, establishment and financial data: The collection of personnel data yields person-year, occupational title, education, field of R&D, area of responsibility, and establishment data per individual. The details of the data collected on establishments provides data on the location of each individual’s workplace. These data are used in the calculation of the sub-regional and regional data. The details used in terms of the collection of financial data are the administrative expenditure in the financial statements. These are used in the calculation of the research portion of the current costs (excluding the research staff’s wage and salary costs).

The wage and salary data of the Confederation of Finnish Industries, which use the wage and salary data as well as occupational titles of university staff.

Data on the education and degrees of universities’ research staffs are obtained from Statistics Finland’s Register of Completed Education and Degrees.

Universities’ working hours monitoring and working plan data, which allow for calculating time-use coefficients by personnel groups and main fields of R&D. Statistics Finland collects the data in question every four or five years.

Calculation of universities

The statistics cover all universities in Finland. University research includes research carried out at university hospitals by the staff simultaneously holding a post at a university department (the individuals reported by universities in a direct questionnaire).  Other research work carried out at university hospitals is inquired about with an electronic form as a separate survey.

‘Budget funding’ refers to the expenditure of research activities carried out with funding pursuant to the Universities Act. Universities’ own funding is composed of their funds spent on research activities (the research funding of universities’ funds and foundations as well as profit from business operations). Other funding which passes through the universities’ accounting is considered to be external funding of research. The funding data are inquired exclusive of value-added tax.

R&D personnel

The statistical unit of universities’ research staff is composed of individuals of whose working time more than 10 per cent concerns research and to the universities' average personnel situation for the year. The data are produced by combining the department-specific personnel data provided by universities with the wage and salary data provided by the Confederation of Finnish Industries. Of the personnel working in departments engaged in research, researchers refer to persons with a researcher career stage defined in the personnel data of the Ministry of Education and Culture. This personnel includes doctoral school students, postdoctoral researchers, university lecturers, professors and research directors and fee-paid teachers. Other R&D personnel include research support staff and IT staff as well as, based on service, a few occupational titles without a researcher career stage. Classifications into personnel groups are made based on data on occupational titles. The R&D personnel of universities consists entirely of researchers and occupational titles defined as other R&D personnel. Educational data for the staff is obtained primarily from Statistics Finland’s data on completed education and degrees for the statistical year.


A department is considered to be engaged in research if the discipline researched has been determined for at least part of the staff. Usually, units of this kind also receive external research money, but they can also operate solely on the basis of basic funding. Administrative offices, libraries, language centres and training schools, for example, are not units engaged in research, even if data on a discipline were detailed for some of their staff.

R&D in full-time equivalents
The calculation of R&D in full-time equivalents is based on the proportions, arrived at with time-use coefficients, of research work by personnel groups on the level of the principal field of R&D. The time-use coefficients are calculated with the help of universities’ working hours monitoring and working plan data. R&D in full-time equivalents are calculated only for R&D staff working in the unit engaged in research. A portion of the other staff’s working hours is classified under research, but this is only counted as current expenditure, not as full-time equivalents. Uncertainties in the calculation relate to the determination of the research staff and the quality of the time-use coefficients. Some occupational titles to be included in research staff are also reclassified when the research portion is updated. R&D in full-time equivalents also includes work carried out with a grant. Data on grants paid through a university’s accounting are provided by a direct questionnaire of Statistics Finland in which the number of full-time equivalents carried out with a grant is inquired. The data on the number of full-time equivalents carried out with a grant obtained in the survey is supplemented by calculating the number of full-time equivalents from grants by dividing the amount of reported grants by the maximum amount of tax-free grants confirmed in the statistical reference year.

R&D expenditure
Research expenditure is composed of the R&D staff’s wage and salary expenditure, other current costs classified under research and capital costs. Wage and salary expenditure for a full-time equivalent are calculated according to the average wage and salary expenditure of a personnel group and universities. Holiday pay, social security costs and pension costs are added to the calculated wage and salary expenditure. The research portion of the wage and salary expenditure of staff, other than research staff, is included in other current costs. The basis for calculating the classification is the ratio of research wage and salaries to the university’s total wage and salary expenses. Any grants paid as wages are also included in research wages and salaries. A portion of premises costs, purchased services and other current costs is also calculated for research.

Data collection

The data are collected with an electronic form directly from the data providers. Administrative register data are also used in the higher education sector.

Frequency of data collection

The statistics on research and development are collected annually.

Methods

Data compilation

1) Responses are compared to t-1 data, with special attention paid to large R&D units
2) Item non-response is imputed with logical rules between variables and, in terms of business enterprises, with the previous year’s industry-specific distribution data
3) The greatest units in unit non-response are imputed with the previous year’s response.
4) In the business enterprise sector, the calculation of weighting coefficients in the panel section means non-response correction, in the sample section design weight (sampling ratio) is also included. The calculation of the weighting factors relies on the business register’s turnover data. A stratum’s weighting factor is the ratio between the total turnover of the business enterprises included in the survey and the turnover of the respondents. Group-level responses and some business enterprises considered extreme values in terms of the extent of research activities have been removed from the calculation of weight factors. These form their own post-stratum with a weighting factor of 1. The other sectors represent complete enumeration.

Data validation

In direct data collection, the electronic form guides the respondent by calling attention to errors and inconsistencies. The data received is reviewed programmatically and edited mostly manually, and partly with automatic edits and imputations.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Economic statistics

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics. Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.

Further information: Statistical legislation

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2019/2152 requires the collection of data on research and development activities and their delivery to Eurostat. It also steers the compilation of the statistics.

Confidentiality - policy

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics. Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.

Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

Confidentiality - data treatment

The protection of data on business enterprises’ research and development activities complies with Statistics Finland’s official guidelines on the protection of tabulated personal and enterprise data based on the principles of statistical ethics and legislation. The starting point in publishing the data is to not publish information on the business enterprises included in the panel and sample. In protection, the primary procedure is compliance with the threshold rule, and the secondary procedure is compliance with the dominance rule. The data include personnel and euro figures.

The data are released in the basic publications mainly in such a way that separate protection is not required (the published data includes a sufficient number of observations and there is no dominance). If exceptions to this are made – by increasing the degree of detail in tabulations, for example – each case is assessed separately.

With regard to the public sector, the letter accompanying the questionnaire form notes that according to Section 12 of the Statistics Act, data describing the activities and public service production of central and local government authorities that are public based on other legislation are also public as statistical data. Data concerning individuals are private, and they are used solely for statistical purposes.

In the higher education sector, Statistics Finland releases university of applied sciences-specific and university-specific data on the basis of the written permissions it has received.

Release policy

Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service.

Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland

Data sharing

Statistics Finland compiles and publishes the statistics on research and development annually with a ten-month delay. The data are delivered to Statistics Finland's research services and national accounts. Tabulated data are also delivered to Eurostat and the OECD.

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.

In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases.

Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.

Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service. 

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions.

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before.

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data.

Quality assessment

Statistics Finland’s general quality criteria for the compiling of statistics are complied with. A quality report according to Eurostat’s guidelines is drawn up for odd-numbered years.

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. 

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published.

Further information: Publication principles for statistics Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data.

Statistical experts

Ari Leppälahti
Senior Adviser
029 551 3237

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