About the Research Council of Norway
Science and Technology Indicators for Norway 1997
Research and experimental development (R&D) carried out by colleges and
universities, research institutes and industry is of the utmost importance to
Norways economic, cultural and social development. Norways research policy
focuses on promoting the significance of research to society, and on the interaction
between research with society, to set goals and initiate measures for the development of
the research system and to establish priorities for the utilisation of research resources.
By virtue of its role as an advisory body on research policy, the Research Council
bears a special responsibility for enhancing the knowledge base underlying Norways
national research policy. One of the Research Councils responsibilities is to
develop an infrastructure to accommodate the production of a firm substructure of facts.
This report represents a step in this direction, and it is replacing earlier publications
of R&D statistics. It is the first to be published by the Research Council in a new
series based on periodical R&D- and innovation- statistics.
The report is intended for R&D reference purposes, as it provides an overview of
the statistics and indicators related to R&D and innovation activities in Norway. It
consists of two main parts: one section with text and analysis accompanied by figures and
one section with tables. The report also presents international comparisons.
A collection of science and technology indicators can never replace good judgement or
clear vision in research policy, but it might trigger reflection and inspire discussion.
It is hoped this report will challenge users to construct complex configurations of facts
that can be scrutinised through interactive communication. In this respect, the report is
intended to increase the level of Norways debate on research policy.
The report is a result of collaboration between the Research Council of Norway (NFR),
the Norwegian Institute for Studies in Research and Higher Education (NIFU), Studies of
Technology, Innovation and Economic Policy (STEP) and Statistics Norway (SSB). The editor
of the report has been Kirsten Wille Maus (NIFU) who has been assisted by a editorial
group; Frank Foyn (SSB), Svein Olav Nås (STEP), Lars Ødegaard (NFR) and Dag W. Aksnes
Any comments or recommendations for improvements may be submitted by e-mail to the
editor Kirsten Wille-Maus, NIFU. firstname.lastname@example.org
This report is posted on the Internet
Any contribution(s) you as a reader might care to make to the discussion forum will be
The report is divided into four main chapters, each of which focuses on a different
aspect of the research and innovation system. The four chapters are:
- Human resources: An introduction to the indicators related to tertiary education and
- R&D resources: A presentation of results from the R&D surveys that form the
basis of Norways national R&D statistics.
- R&D and technology collaboration: An overview of some aspects of R&D
collaboration at the national and international levels.
- Results of R&D and innovation activities: A presentation of output indicators
related to knowledge production within the research system. The results are presented in
terms of publication rates (bibliometric indicators), innovations in industry (patent
indicators) and embodied technology and technology flows.
All expenditures etc. are given Norwegian crowns (NOK).
1.00 PPP (Purchase Power Parities) = NOK 9.31 (MSTI/OECD), 1995
Summary Main Chapters
- Norwegian residents have the highest education per capita of any country in Europe.
Twenty-one per cent of all adults (aged 25 or more) had college- or university-level
education in 1995 and, of these, 4 per cent had graduate degrees. This is a rise of 9 per
cent since 1980.
- Six thousand students were awarded graduate-level degrees in Norway in 1995, a rise of
50 per cent since 1990. The humanities and social sciences, including economics and law,
accounted for 48 per cent of this growth, while the natural sciences accounted for 42 per
cent and medicine for 10 per cent.
- Six hundred students were awarded doctoral degrees in Norway in 1995 and again in 1996.
In 1996, 27 per cent of the degrees were conferred in the humanities and social sciences,
53 per cent in natural sciences and 20 per cent in medicine.
- From 1990 to 1996, the share of women who received doctorates increased steadily,
reaching 34 per cent in 1996.
- Norway employed 27 000 researchers in 1995, which is twice as many as in 1983.
Twenty-one per cent of these hold a doctoral degree.
- Seventy per cent of all those with higher education was employed in the public sector in
1994, while 40 per cent of the general labour force was employed by the public sector.
- NOK 16 billion was spent on research and development (R&D) in Norway in 1995.
- R&D costs were equivalent to 1.7 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in
1995, while the OECD average for the same year was approximately 2.2 per cent.
- Norway spent NOK 3650 per capita on R&D in 1995. Converted to 1993 prices (the last
year for which international R&D statistics are available), Norway was 7 per cent
below the OECD average.
- Industry financed 50 per cent of the R&D carried out in Norway in 1995, while the
public sector funded 43 per cent. Foreign funding, including funds from the EU Commission,
and other funding financed the remaining 7 per cent.
- The institute sector and the higher education sector accounted for 54 per cent of
R&D expenditures in 1995, NOK 4.5 billion and NOK 4.1 billion, respectively. The cost
of intramural R&D in the industrial sector added up to about NOK 7.3 billion.
- Beginning in 1995, the basis for industrial R&D statistics was extended
significantly. When adjusted for this change, there is a slight decrease in total R&D
expenditures from 1993 to 1995 in real terms. At constant prices, industrial intramural
R&D expenses would be 1 per cent higher. The institute sector experienced a real
decline of 8 per cent during the same period, and while research spending at colleges and
universities saw no growth at all.
- From 1993 to 1995, oil companies R&D funding decreased by 27 per cent in real
terms. The manufacturing industrys R&D financing climbed by 15 per cent, also in
real terms, (when corrected for inflation and the broadening of the statistical base for
the industrial sector). Public sector funding of R&D declined 5 per cent, while
foreign funding and other funding was down 15 per cent in real terms.
- R&D financed over the higher education sectors budgets grew by 4 per cent in
real terms, while the activities within this sector that were financed externally saw a
decrease of 9 per cent in real terms over the two-year period.
- In the higher education sector was it in 1995 carried out R&D for NOK 1.1 billion in
both the natural sciences and medicine. Together, these subjects accounted for 52 per cent
of all R&D carried out in this sector. Social sciences and the humanities represented
32 per cent.
- Industrial R&D activities are highly concentrated. Altogether, about 1000 R&D
units submitted responses to the 1995 innovation survey. Ten per cent of the respondents
accounted for 70 per cent of all industrial R&D expenditure. The manufacturing
industry alone spent NOK 4.3 billion on R&D, accounting for 60 per cent of aggregate
R&D expenditure by the industrial sector. A breakdown of the manufacturing industry
indicates that the dominant R&D sectors were the chemical, electronics, optical and
mechanical industries. The crude petroleum and natural gas sector spent NOK 0.6 billion on
intramural R&D, while the service sector used NOK 2.3 billion on R&D.
- Compared with the OECD average, the volume of R&D carried out by Norwegian industry
is below average. This is largely due to the fact that Norwegian industry to a great
extent is based on the production of crude products. This type of production is known to
have a low level of R&D intensiveness at the international level as well, and this is
explaining why Norways industrial R&D is below the OECD average.
- The industrial sector is dominated by experimental development, which accounted for 75
per cent of all R&D activities in 1995. Applied research dominates in the institute
sector, accounting for roughly 60 per cent of overall activities. In the higher education
sector basic research accounted for 48 per cent and applied research for 36 per cent of
the R&D expenditures in this sector. The overall share of basic research was lower in
Norway than in other countries.
R&D and Technology Collaboration
Estimated figures show that Norway spent a total of NOK 2.1 billion on international
R&D and technology collaboration in 1997. Industry contributed about one-third of that
amount, while the rest was raised from public sources. Public grants for participation in
major international research programmes totalled NOK 0.7 billion, of which EU programmes
accounted for NOK 0.4 billion, ESA for NOK 0.2 billion and CERN for NOK 0.1 billion.
The Norwegian research system is becoming increasingly internationalised. From 1992 to
1994, about 30 per cent of the Norwegian scientific articles published in international
journals involved foreign co-authorship. From 1994 to 1996, this figure climbed to nearly
40 per cent. Thirty-two per cent of the foreign co-authors were from other Nordic
countries. However, there are significant differences among the various disciplines.
One hundred and eighty industrial enterprises reported participating in international
R&D and technology collaboration in 1995, spending a total of NOK 1.4 billion on the
projects. More than half these expenditures were ascribable to collaborative projects
within the same group of companies.
Results of Research and Innovation Activities
From 1992 to 1996, Norwegian researchers published 4.5 scientific articles per 1000
capita in international journals. This is a lower publication frequency than the other
Nordic countries during the same period, but more than Germany or France, for instance.
Norwegian-written articles are cited less frequently than articles published in other
There has been significant growth in the international publishing activities of
Norwegian researchers. From 1981 to 1996, the total number of articles published by
Norwegians increased by 75 per cent. For the purpose of comparison, this increase in
output has been smaller than in the Netherlands, Finland, Japan and Sweden, but larger
than in Denmark.
Measured per capita, the total number of patent applications made from domiciles in
Norway is significantly below the average for the Nordic countries. From 1987 to 1996,
Norwegian domiciles submitted 10 000 patent applications. Applications of foreign origin
clearly dominate, accounting for 80 per cent of the total.
The innovation study made in 1992 showed that 23 per cent of the innovative enterprises
submitted patents for product innovations, while 17 per cent submitted patents for process
Twenty-five per cent of all Norwegian enterprises can be described as having been
innovative in 1995. The figure is appreciably higher in the manufacturing industry where
as much as 50 per cent of the enterprises are innovative. The innovation ratio varies with
the size of the enterprise, ranging from about 35 per cent among the smallest enterprises
to 80 per cent among the largest. Ten per cent of the largest enterprises developed 90 per
cent of all new products.
The overall technology intensity of the industrial sector was estimated at 1.19 per cent
in 1995. As a percentage of the value added in the sector, R&D accounted for 0.75 per
cent, while the sectors purchases of R&D in the form of goods and services
accounted for 0.43 per cent.