The scientific impact of research in Finland is above the world average. However, the impact of scientific publishing in key reference countries is still higher than in Finland. Despite a steady increase in R&D spending, Finland is the only Nordic country where R&D expenditure as a proportion of GDP is lower than in 2010. After universities, companies are the second largest employer of doctoral degree holders. These are the main conclusions of the Research Council of Finland’s latest State of Scientific Research in Finland data.
The scientific impact of Finnish scientific publications, measured by the Top 10 index, is above the world average. In addition, in a number of scientific disciplines in Finland the Top 10 index has increased from below the world average (2006–2009) to above average (2016–2019), according to statistics produced in the Research Council of Finland’s State of Scientific Research review. The Top 10 index examines the relative proportion of scientific publications in the most cited 10 per cent. The world average in each discipline is 1.
China’s publishing and scientific impact continues to grow. China’s steady rise affects the relative impact of publishing in other countries, such as Finland, in international comparisons.
R&D expenditure has been growing steadily in Finland
Spending on research, development and innovation has increased steadily in Finland in recent years. In 2021, Finland’s R&D expenditure as a proportion of GDP rose to almost 3 per cent, being €7.6 billion. This growth was driven in particular by an increase in business R&D expenditure.
In international comparison, Finland’s R&D expenditure as a proportion of GDP is above the OECD average. However, in 2021, Finland was still the only Nordic country where R&D expenditure as a proportion of GDP was clearly lower than in 2010.
The Finnish act on R&D funding, which came into force this year, aims for a steady increase in R&D spending in the coming years to raise R&D expenditure as a proportion of GDP to 4 per cent by 2030.
Number of PhDs in the business sector on the rise – still untapped potential
The State of Scientific Research statistics on research personnel show that 27 per cent of employed PhDs worked in companies in 2019. The proportion of companies as PhD employers increased in the 2010s. After universities, companies are the largest employer of doctoral degree holders.
The research FTEs of doctoral degree holders have increased in all sectors in the 2000s, most markedly over the last ten years in the business sector. However, in 2021, PhDs in the business sector accounted for only 7 per cent of the research work in businesses, and their proportion of the research work in the higher education sector has been falling since the late 2010s.
Finnish universities are becoming increasingly international. According to State of Scientific Research statistics, foreign staff account for a significant proportion (38%) of early-career researcher FTEs.
Explore the State of Scientific Research in Finland 2023:
- State of Scientific Research in Finland: research funding, research personnel and scientific publishing (PDF)
The Research Council 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. They also include analyses on specific themes. Finland is also examined in relation to key reference countries.
The next State of Scientific Research in Finland statistics will be published in 2024.
Inquiries and more information
- Paula Eerola, President, tel. +358 295 335 001
- Otto Auranen, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 141
Our email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi.
Academy of Finland Communications
Pekka Rautio, Communications Specialist
tel. +358 295 335 040