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11 February 2019

Investments in R&D at record levels

The Gothenburg region has seen a sharp increase in private R&D investments. In 2017, its county, Västra Götaland, accounted for a third of Sweden’s total private R&D expenditure.  

In 2015, Västra Götaland was behind a quarter of Sweden’s private R&D investments. But the latest figures from Statistics Sweden show that the private sector in Västra Götaland spent a record-high SEK 35.5 billion (approx. EUR 3.6 billion) on R&D in 2017 - equivalent to 32 per cent of Sweden’s private R&D expenditure.

“These numbers illustrate the business community’s confidence in investing here. It doesn’t occur by default that the companies, many of which have global operations, will invest in R&D in the region,” says Maria Strömberg, Head of Clusters and Innovation at Business Region Göteborg. 

“Together we have created a good climate for cooperation with the right preconditions for innovation. Here we have a closeness, an openness and successful cooperation between the private, public and academic sectors,” she adds. 

Sweden’s private R&D investments have climbed steadily since 2011 and a driver has been the development in Gothenburg. For example, between 2015 and 2017, Sweden’s private R&D expenditure rose from SEK 98 billion to nearly SEK 111 billion – 90 per cent of this increase is due to Gothenburg and the Västra Götaland County.  

“Our automotive cluster has invested heavily in recent years. And during 2017 we also saw the relocation of the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden’s headquarters to Gothenburg,” says Maria Strömberg.

At the same time, Andreas Göthberg, Head of FDI emphasises the breadth in the Gothenburg region. Many other sectors are performing well, including life science, ICT, logistics and construction, which has also contributed to the growing investments in R&D.    

“Gothenburg has some exciting developments in the pipeline. In the Lindholmen area alone we have a new AI centre and data factory that just opened, as well as a new automotive innovation centre with seats for 3,500 people, where construction is well underway,” says Andreas Göthberg. 

Elsewhere in Gothenburg, there are also plans for a new life science innovation centre connected to the university hospital and science park, plus a new healthtech cluster located next to AstraZenenca’s research facility in Mölndal.

 

An innovative and R&D-intensive nation

Sweden is regularly ranked among the most innovative nations in the world. An important contributor is the high-level of investment in R&D from both private and public actors.

In 2017, Sweden spent 3.3 per cent of its GDP on R&D. This was the highest level among EU member states, where the average was 2.1 per cent.

Since the turn of the millennium, Sweden has spent 3-4 per cent of its GDP on R&D.

 

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