This indicator is defined as the total Gross Domestic Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD), expressed as a share of regional GDP.
The GERD indicator is one of the headline indicators of EU2020 Strategy´s “Smart Growth” with the objective of reaching a level of public and private R&D expenditures of 3% of EU GDP by 2020. R&D activities are seen as specific assets of European economy, and only continuous future R&D activities will keep Europe´s economy competitive with USA, China and other countries. .
In the ESPON space, the pattern of the share of R&D expenditure reveals the east-west divide. But here the east, where R&D intensity level is typically rather low, includes not only the new CEEC member states of the EU but also Greece, Croatia, southernmost mainland regions of Italy and several Mediterranean islands. At the same time, the Czech Republic and Slovenia have reached the typical western level. In the west, R&D expenditure is typically spread quite evenly within the countries. In the east, typically only the regions including capitals have R&D shares running at 1% or more of the regional GDP.
The share of R&D expenditure reveals the east-west divide in BSR as well. The regions of the Nordic countries and Germany typically invest at least 1% of GDP into R&D, but many 2.5% and much more. In the east, only the Mazowieckie region (incl. Warszawa), areas around Sankt Petersburg and Estonia have passed the 1% milestone.