5.12.2023 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The statistics concern government R&D funding. The statistics contain data on research and development funding granted in the state budget to public sector organisations. In addition to R&D funding in Finland, the statistics cover funding from international scientific organisations, research organisations and R&D programmes. Indirect funding such as R&D tax concessions is not included in the statistics. The variable of the statistics is the amount of R&D funding. R&D funding is examined by administrative branch, and according to the socioeconomic objective of the awarding organisation and research.

The starting point for the statistics is to assess the objectives of the central government and ministries in supporting research and development (R&D). Estimates of research funding are based on the appropriations in budget proposals, as well as on the granting authorisations of the awarding organisation. Funding is examined by budget year rather than by year of use. Changes occurring in R&D funding between different years are also examined. The purpose of the statistics is to determine the extent and allocation of government R&D funding.

The OECD and Eurostat recommendations are observed in the compilation of the statistics. The Statistics Act (280/2004) is applied in the production of statistics on science and technology. In addition, Commission Regulation (EC) No 753/2004 requires collection of data and steers the compilation of the statistics.

Statistical population

The target population includes all organisations that award government research funding.

Statistical unit

The statistical unit is ministries, agencies and other organisations, and central government research institutes.

Unit of measure

The unit of measure used in the statistics is EUR million.

Base period

Changes in expenditure in real terms are calculated using the price index of public expenditure produced by Statistics Finland (2010=100).

Reference period

The statistics on central government R&D funding are published annually. The R&D funding for the statistical reference year is based on the budget proposal submitted by the Government to Parliament. The statistics describe in particular R&D funding in the current state budget and its change from the previous year.

Reference area

The statistics cover the central government branch of administration, not municipalities or joint municipal authorities.

Sector coverage

The statistics cover state-funded R&D activities, and the population comprises central agencies, ministries and the research institutes under them.

Time coverage

The statistics on central government R&D funding have been compiled since 1975. The statistics were transferred directly from the Academy of Finland to Statistics Finland in 2002.

The date of publication of the preliminary data based on the budget proposal is February of the statistical reference year (t-10). The final data based on the approved revised budget are published in August (t+8). The preliminary data are revised later based on supplementary budgets and actual payment data. The aim is to produce a time series that is as complete as possible, and to make it available to data users as soon as possible. The final budgetary data are influenced not only by supplementary budgets but also by actual payment data.

Frequency of dissemination

The statistics are published annually.


R&D appropriation

Government R&D funding refers to appropriations and outlays for research and development in the state budget, i.e. intentions to spend money. Public funding for research and development includes R&D appropriations allocated to ministries, central government agencies and institutions. Development work of government-owned enterprises and municipalities is not included in the calculations.

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.

Socio-economic objective

Government budget appropriations or outlays for R&D are considered in the statistics according to the social policy (socio-economic) objective. The division of government R&D funding into different objectives depends on the viewpoint of the classifier, in this case the provider of funding. The definitions used in Finland are based on the NABS classification (Nomenclature for the Analysis and Comparison of Scientific Programmes and Budgets, rev. 2007):

Industrial production and technology
Transport, telecommunication and other infrastructures
Exploration and exploitation of the earth
Culture, recreation, religion and mass media
Political and social systems, structures and processes
General advancement of knowledge: R&D financed from other sources than GUF
General advancement of knowledge: R&D financed from general university funds (GUF)
Exploration and exploitation of space

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The definitions and recommendations of the OECD are used in the compilation of the statistics. Research funding is compiled according to the budget year, not the year of use. R&D expenditure is the proportion of expenditure that is used to fund activities falling within the definition of R&D. However, despite the instructions and definitions provided, it is ultimately the respondent who decides what is considered R&D, which may lead to measurement errors. The statistics represent a total survey. In practice, non-response does not occur, because the respondents are contacted directly where necessary.


The date of publication of the preliminary data based on the budget proposal is February of the statistical reference year (t-10). The final data based on the approved revised budget are published in August (t+8).


Comparability - geographical

The results of the statistics on R&D funding are comparable in the OECD and EU Member States at aggregate level. The main differences between countries are reflected in the classification according to the socioeconomic objective of funding.

Comparability - over time

1995 External funding of research institutes is removed from the state R&D budget.
1997 University hospitals are included in the calculations.
2015 The Natural Research Institute Finland (Luke) is established following the merger of the MTT Agrifood Research Finland, the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute (RKTL) and the statistical services of the Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Tike).
2016 The more specific sub-categories based on the Nordforsk classification are phased out, and the statistics are now broken down according to the NABS 2007 categories.
2018 Business Finland (former Tekes) commences operation. Universities of applied sciences are separated from other funding and given their own category.
2019 The Finnish Food Authority is established following the merger of Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, Agency for Rural Affairs (Mavi) and part of the Centre for ICT Services at the National Land Survey of Finland.
2020 The definition of R&D funding for universities is based partly on actual expenditure on research in previous years and partly on the share of research expenditure in the core funding of universities. Research funding is affected by the updating of the calculation method carried out in the statistical reference year 2017 and the resulting increase in actual research expenditure. In 2020, some research funding data from research institutes are affected by the updating of the calculation methods.

Coherence - cross domain

The statistics on R&D funding in the state budget describe public R&D funding; Statistics Finland’s statistics on research and development describe expenditure on R&D activities.

Coherence - internal

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. Unlike the research statistics, the R&D funding statistics also include membership fees and contributions to international organisations. The basic definition of ‘R&D activities’ is the same for both statistics.

Source data and data collections

Source data

State budget and supplementary budgets. Data are collected from ministries, agencies, government organisations and research institutes.

Data collection

The data are collected using an electronic questionnaire from central government organisations receiving and distributing government R&D funding. The data providers comprise funding organisations, agencies, ministries and research institutes under them. A research project can also be a statistical unit. Some data are obtained directly from the budget proposal.

Changes in expenditure in real terms are calculated using the price index of public expenditure produced by Statistics Finland (2010=100). The total central government expenditure and the expenditure less central government debt have been deflated using the total expenditure index. The deflator used in the case of research expenditure is the index of government consumption expenditure. The estimate of the cost increase is obtained from the Ministry of Finance.
The data to be submitted to the OECD and Eurostat for comparison purposes require accurate data on research funding in the ‘General advancement of knowledge’ category, broken down by discipline. The breakdown of the data concerning the ‘R&D funding for universities’ sub-category may be carried out after the completion of the R&D statistics (t+10), using the breakdown of expenditure by discipline in the higher education sector. The funding in the ‘General advancement of knowledge, other’ sub-category is broken down by discipline, using the Academy of Finland’s discipline-specific financial information, which is obtained from the Academy of Finland.

Frequency of data collection

The data are collected annually.


Data compilation

The data are checked for inconsistencies and compared with the relevant budget item. The approved figures are broken down by administrative branch, organisation and socioeconomic objective category.

Data validation

The data are compared with the previous year’s responses and the budget. It is also checked that the budget item indicated is correct, and that there is no overlap between the contributions received from different organisations. The figures on R&D expenditure produced in the R&D statistics can be used to help verify the accuracy and correctness of the data. If necessary, the respondents are asked to provide further information.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Business 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 

The OECD and Eurostat recommendations are observed in the compilation of the statistics. The Statistics Act (280/2004) is applied in the production of the statistics on science and technology (incl. research and development). In addition, Commission Regulation (EC) No 753/2004 requires collection of data and steers the compilation of the statistics.

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable. 

Since data on government R&D funding concern a matter of substantial public interest, Statistics Finland has requested permission from central government research institutes to publish financial data on their R&D activities.

Confidentiality - data treatment

According to the Statistics Act (280/2004), the data of the statistics are in the public domain.

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. 

Data sharing

The results of the statistics on R&D funding in the state budget are published on the home page of the statistics on the due date. The links on the home page lead to the description of the statistics, concepts and definitions as well as free of charge statistical database tables (StatFin). Eurostat also publishes data on government budget allocations for R&D (GBARD) on its own website.

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. 

The statistical release ‘R&D funding in the state budget’ is published in the second half of February. Once the figures are final, a press release on the matter is published on the home page of the statistics. The revised data are also updated to the StatFin database.

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 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. 

R&D funding in the state budget represents official statistics. The Official Statistics of Finland (OSF) is a comprehensive collection of statistics describing the development and state of society. It comprises nearly 300 sets of statistics on 26 different topics. The producers of Official Statistics of Finland have approved a common quality assurance in which they commit to common quality criteria and quality assurance measures. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. The good practices followed in the statistics are presented in Statistics Finland’s Quality Guidelines for Official Statistics handbook.

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

Heidi Pirkola
Senior Statistician
029 551 3246

The documentation released before 5.4.2022 can be found on the archive pages of the statistics.

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