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RIO Country Report Latvia 2016

The annual RIO Country Report offers an analysis of the R&I system in Latvia, including relevant policies and funding, with particular focus on topics critical for EU policies. The report identifies the main challenges of the Latvian research and innovation system and assesses the policy response.


Executive summary


  • Economic growth in Latvia slowed down significantly in the first half of 2016 as the use of EU funding for investment was much lower than expected. The general fiscal situation remains stable.
  • In 2014, Latvian SMEs generated around 69% of the non-financial business economy's value added which is much higher that the European average (58%). However, Latvian SMEs are concentrated in sectors with low and medium-low research intensity.
  • BERD intensity in Latvia has been stagnating in the recent years. In 2015, it decreased to as low as 0.15% of GDP.
  • Government support to R&D in Latvia is still very modest. Latvian GBAORD (0.19% of GDP in 2015) is very low, 3 times lower than the EU average. The country is extremely reliant on EU funding for its R&D expenditure.
  • Some public sector innovation initiatives in terms of new electronic services and open data projects were rolled out recently but in general the public sector and the civil society are not actively engaged in co-creation of services and in procurement of innovative solutions.

Main R&I policy challenges

  • Development of human capital for innovation.  Insufficient supply of human resources is an issue for both the business and the public sector, and human capital capacity in both cases relates not only to the number of people, but also to the relevance of their knowledge.
  • Fragmentation of the public research and education system and low quality of the science base. Despite consolidation efforts, fragmentation in the educational system did not change significantly. With respect to geographical dispersion not much progress is observable - no physical locations are consolidated, and no researchers or infrastructure was relocated.
  • Sub-optimal framework conditions for entrepreneurship and access to finance to (innovative) enterprises. The risk of abuse of the insolvency process and the shadow economy are particularly acute problems hindering entrepreneurship.

Main R&I policy developments in 2016

Geo coverage
Report year
Official publication date
Friday, 12 May, 2017
Last update: 24/10/2017 | Top | Legal notice | Contact | Search