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RIO Country Report Sweden 2016

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




  • —Real GDP growth in Sweden in 2016 is estimated at 3.3% and is expected to slow down in 2017 (EC, Winter 2017 Forecast).
  • —In 2015, GERD was the highest in the EU summing up to 3.26% of GDP.
  • —A new Research Bill was submitted in November 2016 and will be decided by Parliament in 2017. It has a ten-year perspective but focuses in particular on measures for 2017–2020,
  • —Swedish BERD intensity is among the highest in Europe and stood at 2.27% in 2015, corresponding to slightly above 2/3 of total R&D investments in Sweden.
  • —There have been substantial efforts over the past two decades focusing on an incremental industrial restructuring. The aim is to reduce economic dependence on a few large actors by supporting growth in high-tech firms and improving framework conditions for SMEs.

Main R&I policy challenges

  • Improving the links between research and innovation. Since the late 1990s Swedish research and innovation policy has been focused on increasing the links between research and innovation. The dominant policy approach has focused on supply side measures such as funding instruments, which promote cross-sectoral collaboration. One of the more persistent subthemes in the Swedish debate on innovation policy has been the notion that Sweden has an innovation output that is somewhat lower than expected when compared with the volume of R&D investment.
  • Reducing the dependence of BERD on multinational companies. About 80% of Swedish business R&D is performed by a few large multinational companies. Most  of it is concentrated in firms with more than1000 employees. The thrust of policy efforts for promoting increased business investment in R&D by SMEs has been linked to support of high tech firms with public venture capital schemes and university-firm collaborative schemes aimed at upgrading SMEs competence and supporting knowledge-intensive innovation.
  • Sustaining the high quality of the public research base.  The 2008 and 2012 Research Bills brought significant increases in research funding to allocated to universities.  However, the limited impact of these efforts suggests that institutional governance at university level is an important consideration for future policy.

Main R&I policy developments in 2016

Geo coverage
Report year
Official publication date
Monday, 8 May, 2017
Country Report file
Last update: 19/03/2019 | Top | Legal notice | Contact | Search