R&D personnel

  • Nearly 51,000 full-time equivalents employed in research and development

    The Flemish Region had 50,847 full-time equivalents working in research and development in 2017 (R&D personnel). 

    This number has been increasing in recent years. Between 2006 and 2017, the number of full-time units for R&D increased by 47%. 

  • 6 in 10 R&D employees work in the private sector

    Private companies account for the bulk of research workers. In 2017, this share stood at 62% of the full-time equivalents in R&D. The second biggest actor is higher education (28%). 

    The share of private companies was on the decline between 2006 and 2015, only to rise again in 2016 and 2017. The shares of the government and the non-profit institutions increased over time, even though the latter category remained small in absolute numbers. The share of higher education went up from 30% to 34% between 2006 and 2010, but has decreased since then. 

  • Flanders among European top tier in share of R&D staff

    According to figures from the European statistics agency Eurostat, 2.9% of all jobs in the Flemish Region in 2016 were R&D jobs. The Brussels Capital Region does slightly better at 3.1%. The indicator shows a lower proportion in the Walloon Region (2.3%). 

    At European level, Denmark ranks highest (3.0%). Austria, Sweden and Finland occupy the same rank as the Flemish Region. The indicator is lowest in a number of southern and Mediterranean EU countries. 


Expertisecentrum Onderzoek en Ontwikkelingsmonitoring (ECOOM) (Centre for Research & Development Monitoring): IndicatorenboekTotale O&O personeel (Indicators Book - Total R&D staff) 


R&D personnel: the personnel directly involved in research and development. These are not just the researchers, but also include managers and administrative staff who supply direct services. 

Publication date

1 July 2019

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