• Pharmaceutical company KRKA: R&D department

Infrastructure & Utilities

Research & Development

Scientific research and development activities in Slovenia are well developed, specially when compared to other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. A growing number of publications and citations as well as fast expansion in R&D intensity over a decade speak about important success of research activities in Slovenia. The country has been recognized as the fastest growing

Innovation follower among group members (Austria, Belgium, france, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovenia and the UK) according to European Innovation Scoreboard 2015, prepared by European Commission. Slovenia has also been listed very high on 2016 Bloomberg Innovation Index. Among 50 world's most innovative economies Slovenia ranks 24th place.

R&D expenditure

According to the estimate, in 2014 the share of gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) in GDP was 2.39%, which is above EU average. Most of the funds for R&D in Slovenia were provided by the business enterprise sector, i.e. 77% of total funds (Source: Statistical office of the Republic of Slovenia).


R&D intensity (GERD as % of GDP), 2013


Source: Eurostat, 2016

R&D intensity in the new Member States is on average lower than EU-28 average. Although R&D intensity is higher for Slovenia, the rest of the new Member States returned figures below 2%..


GERD financed by business enterprise and by government as % of GDP, 2013

Source: Eurostat, 2016

R&D personnel

Latest figures by Eurostat reveal that the percentage of research and development personnel of the total labour force is over the EU-28 average. More than 21,000 scientists, researchers and developers are active in Slovenia and around 1,400 people are employed in the start-up and some 1,000 in spin-off companies. 

Researchers employed by main field of science, 2014

Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, 2016

R&D statistics

By international comparison standards Slovenia is ranked high. Following the Science-Metrix data from 2004 onwards, Slovenia exceeds the average growth in the EU within the top 10% of highly cited publications per million of population. Additionally, the number of scientific publications per capita in Slovenia is above the average recorded in the EU.

European patent applications per million of population, 2015

Source: European Patent Office, Annual report 2015

Most of the new EU Member States remain at a rather low level of national patenting, measured as EPO patent applications per million of inhabitants. Slovenia is an exception to the rule with 60 patent applications per million inhabitants in 2015.

The core part of the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) is the calculation of the Summary Innovation Index (SII) among EU-28 Member States. Countries are classified into 4 groups depending on their average innovation performance. 

  • Innovation leaders: Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden.
  • Innovation followers: Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Slovenia.
  • Moderate innovators:  Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.
  • Modest Innovators: Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania

Source: Innovation Union Scoreboard 2015.

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