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Estonia - European Semester

The Europe 2020 Strategy set a 3% objective for R&D intensity for the EU as a whole and most Member States have adopted a national R&D intensity target for 2020. The European Semester, the EU's annual cycle of economic policy coordination, undertakes a detailed analysis of the EU Member States’ plans for R&I investment and structural reforms of national R&I systems, and provides them with recommendations.

The Annual Growth Survey 2016 highlighted that investing in R&I at national level is critical for growth and that therefore Member States should continue to prioritise public investments in R&I, ensuring their efficiency and leverage with regard to business investment. Member States need to keep up the pace of reforms to ensure an investment-friendly environment. See more information about the European Semester.

 
 

Research and Innovation Performance

The European Semester supports Member States' structural reforms in different policy areas to promote jobs, growth and investment. Research and innovation play a key role in this context. That is why the Commission gives recommendations to and closely work with the Member States to increase the performance of their national R&I systems.
Have a look and see how the country is performing.

Report year
2016
Document type
Exercise type
R&I performance
Geo coverage
Publication date
10 November 2016

European Semester Country Report

In 2015, R&D intensity increased to 1.50 % of GDP (from 1.45 % in 2014) and business enterprise expenditure in R&D reached 0.69 % (from 0.63 in 2014). Despite the business sector is making progress in increasing its research, development and innovation investment, these investments are concentrated in a limited number of companies, often in traditional low added-value sectors. Patent applications from Estonia are low and continued its downward trend. 

EE has made some progress in implementing the R&D and enterprise growth strategies. The government launched several measures in 2016: a high-growth business development programme for firms with strong potential; support for public procurement of innovation and measures to boost the use of financial instruments. In addition, an ‘Industrial Policy Green Book’ is being developed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The cooperation between public R&D institutions and private companies increased in 2015, but its volume remains limited. The government continued its support to public research organisations for applied research and development of products in cooperation with business in areas addressed by the smart specialisation strategy (‘NUTIKAS’). Additionally, from 2017 the government is changing the baseline funding formula of research institutions to provide incentives for public- and private-sector contract research. The ‘ADAPTER’ platform was launched in April 2016 as a one-stop shop for companies willing to engage in research with Estonian universities. Finally, doctoral studies in cooperation with enterprises and support for business to participate in technology development centers and clusters are being implemented.

Overall, Estonia made some progress but the key challenges remain: low private investment in R&D, insufficient cooperation between businesses and academia, low efficiency of public R&D spending, shortage of skills, insufficient prioritisation of research and innovation investment and lack of entrepreneurial discovery process. To face these challenges, during the years 2015-2020 more than 600 million euros will be invested in R&D, innovation and business development.

Report year
2017
Document type
Exercise type
European Semester Country Report
Geo coverage
Publication date
22 February 2017

European Semester - Country specific recommendation

Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility (PSF)

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