State of Scientific Research: Finland must invest in research and development

15 Jun 2022

Finland needs to increase funding for research and development in order to meet the Government’s R&D expenditure target of 4 per cent of GDP by 2030. The latest statistics from the Academy of Finland’s State of Scientific Research in Finland review show that Finland is the only Nordic country with a significantly lower R&D intensity in 2020 than in 2010.

The Academy of Finland has released the latest set of statistics from the review of the State of Scientific Research in Finland. The statistics cover data on research funding and personnel as well as scientific publishing. Finland is also examined in relation to key reference countries.

There is a need to increase funding for research and development

The latest statistics published from the State of Scientific Research in Finland review show that Finland’s R&D expenditure accounted for 2.9 per cent of GDP (R&D intensity) in 2020. The Finnish Government’s target is to increase the share to 4 per cent by 2030. R&D intensity describes the contribution to building future wellbeing and competitiveness through research, development and innovation (RDI).

“A high-quality system for RDI also trains key experts to society and contributes to attracting international students and skilled people to Finland,” says Paula Eerola, President of the Academy of Finland, describing the importance of research and development.

The statistics show that Finland is the only Nordic country where R&D expenditure accounted for a significantly lower share of GDP in 2020 than in 2010. In Denmark and Sweden, for example, the share has been higher than in Finland since 2015.

The business sector accounts for about two-thirds of total R&D expenditure in Finland, and the majority of all research full-time equivalents (FTE) are also carried out in the business sector. The period 2009–2016 saw a downward trend in business-sector R&D spending. In recent years, expenditure has again been on the rise. A similar development can also be observed in research FTEs in the business sector.

However, the current growth in R&D spending in the business sector is not sufficient to achieve the 4 per cent target. The same observation has also been made in Finland’s National Roadmap for Research, Development and Innovation and in the Final Report of the Parliamentary Working Group on Research, Development and Innovation.

International cooperation increases scientific impact of research publications

The State of Scientific Research in Finland statistics show that the top 10 index for international co-publications in Finland and the reference countries was clearly higher than for domestic publications. The top 10 index examines the relative proportion of scientific publications in the most cited 10 per cent.

The statistics also show that the scientific impact of international co-publications in Finland has been well above the world average since the 1990s. In all discipline groups, Finland’s international co-publications have clearly more scientific impact than publications produced without international cooperation.

Based on the latest statistics, university teaching and research personnel have an increasingly international background. Foreign citizens account for a significant proportion of the FTEs of doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers. However, there is great variation in the proportion of foreign teaching and research staff between universities.

State of Scientific Research in Finland 2022:

The Academy of Finland regularly reviews the state of scientific research in Finland to support Finnish higher education institutes and government research institutes in their efforts to further develop their operations. The reviews also serve to inform science policy. The reviews are published in the form of statistical and bibliometric analyses on research funding, research personnel and scientific publishing. The reviews also include analyses on specific themes.

A stakeholder event on the latest statistics will be organised on 14 October 2022. The event will discuss science and research as success factors for the future as well as the societal impact of research.

The next review and statistics will be published in 2023.


  • Paula Eerola, President, tel. +358 295 335 001
  • Laura Taajamaa, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 027
  • Otto Auranen, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 141

Our email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname(at)

Academy of Finland Communications
Pekka Rautio, Communications Specialist
tel. +358 295 335 040

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