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Regular version of the site

Eurostatistics of Knowledge Economy

At a seminar on October 9th at the HSE, Veijo Ritola, Head of Eurostat Sector on Statistics on Science, Technology and Innovation, presented his report ‘Eurostat's statistics on science, technology and innovation (European Commission)’, where he explained how statistics are gathered and processed in the EU. We publish a report and an audio extract from the seminar .

This seminar was part of the series ‘Scientific, Technical and Innovation Policies'and organized by the HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge.

Eurostat is a department of the European Commission, coordinating the work of the statistical offices of all EU member countries as well as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Lichtenstein, Vejo Ritola said. Almost 900 people work at Eurostat, who gather data from countries'statistical services, harmonize methods of data gathering, terminology and classifications, calculate aggregate indicators for Europe and publish the results.

On of thematic areas of the organization's activity is Statistics on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). This is a basis for creation, realization and assessment of EU policies in the relevant area. STI statistics has become even more important now, as Europe has set the goal of making the EU the most competitive knowledge-based economy by 2010 and has defined this task through specific statistical guidelines. Now Eurostat is bearing a task of statistical support for building the European Research Area, an R&D analogue for the united European market. In its work Eurostat actively cooperates with the statistical services of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Eurostat supports scientific and innovation development of the EU in five areas, and they are R&D, innovations, patents, the career of experts with academic degrees, high tech and R&D staff.

It is widely understood that the volume of R&D taking place in a specific country is an important indicator of the level of innovation.

Eurostat gathers statistics on research and development together with OECD in compliance with a standard - the Frascati Manual, and includes in this work not only the EU, but also a number of other countries, including Russia. Three key indicators are considered as part of this;internal costs on R&D, budget allocations for R&D and R&D personnel. Usually the indicators are gathered once every two years.

In 2007 a key Lisbon strategy indicator, R&D costs as a percentage of GDP, was 1.85 %, well below the 2010 goal of 3% with only Sweden and Finland exceeding the 3% target.

The Oslo Manual, also developed by OECD, is used in innovation statistics. Here the key indicator is the share of innovation active enterprises. Special attention is given to primary information on separate innovation organizations and the confidentiality of data collection.

Patent statistics allows the measuring of output on investments in research and development. This year a relevant manual has been approved by the OECD. It is much easier to gather patent statistics than scientific or innovation data. It is only necessary to process the data from a unified database compiled from databases of European, American and Japanese patent offices. Now Eurostat is looking to connect the statistics from patents and the entrepreneurial sector.

In 2005-2008 special research was conducted on the career paths of PhD holders. Interesting results were received:the most popular occupation was education and there was a tendency to work in one organization for more than 5-10 years. In most countries PhD holders are ‘locally produced'. The research coverage is currently being inproved and a new phase will be launched, bringing fresh data by the end of 2010.

There are several approaches to high tech statistics. You could proceed from economic sectors, or products, or patents. In the first option, the criterion will be the correlation of R&D costs to value added, in the second - R&D costs are correlated with sales, and in the third case, high tech and biotech definitions from the 8th edition of the International Patent Classification are used.

And finally, the R&D staff statistics allows the analysis of availability, demand, supply and mobility of a wide range of experts. The data is taken from two Eurostat sources, Labour Force Survey and statistics on education. The relevant (and rather outdated) OECD manual is called Canberra manual. So, the HR statistics are calculated by the correlation of data on education and employment. It takes into account all people having a higher education and employed in the scientific and technological sector as experts.

In the end of his speech Veijo Ritola listed some websites where you can examine the statistics on science, technology and innovation in detail:

Ivan Sterligov, HSE News Service

Audio extract:Lecture in English and Opening speech in Russian.

Part 1



Part 2



Audio extract:Lecture in Russian and Opening speech in English (simultaneous translation)

Part 1



Part 2



Presentation for the lecture by Vejo Ritola

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