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Finnish R&D; spending near goal of 4% of GDP

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On October 29th, Eurostat released a report on the status of research and development (R&D;) funding in the Eurozone. According to the report, combined public and private spending on R&D; has stabilized at around 2 per cent of GDP, based on the latest figures for 2009 to 2011. The EU’s original goal was to have increased R&D; funding to 3% of GDP by 2010. Because of the lack of progress, the EU Council of Ministers have delayed the target date for this goal to 2020, as part of the Europe 2020 strategy. In addition to the overall funding levels, the report also finds a mixed pattern of public sector R&D; spending depending on national governments. Although many member states increased spending after the financial crisis of 2008, there remains a north-south divide in spending, with northern EU countries generally spending more than their southern counterparts.
According to the report, the nordic countries are particularly strong in R&D; funding, with Denmark being the only EU country to have met its R&D; funding target. Finland was not far behind. Although the public and private R&D; spending did not reach the stetted goal of 4% of GDP, the 2011 funding level was 3.78% of GDP. Not only is this number quite close to the 2010 goal, it is also twice the EU average funding level. To improve the R&D; funding situation in Finland even more, the report suggests concrete steps to be taken, including:
  • New tax incentives for promoting investment in R&D; in the private sector
  • Provision of annual funding for a new research and innovation policy action programme
  • Revision of the current university funding model and shift towards more outcome oriented financial targeting
  • Launch of a new research infrastructure policy
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Paul Bromann received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 1999 (Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA) and completed postdoctoral fellowships at Washington University Medical School (Saint Louis, MO, USA) and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (San Diego, CA, USA). Dr. Bromann has extensive experience in protein engineering and also has several years of project management experience in academia as well as in industry. He served as Senior Scientist and Project Manager at NexBio, Inc./Ansun BioPharma (San Diego, CA, USA), where he led and managed a multi-disciplinary group project to develop a recombinant protein therapeutic, Sepcidin, to treat viral and inflammatory diseases. He also served as Research Scientist/Project Manager at VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland. At VTT, Dr. Bromann internally managed a large EU project called Metaexplore, and led efforts to develop state-of-the-art metagenomics techniques for discovering and commercially exploiting novel enzymes for industrial applications. As part of the CDR’s commitment to developing novel biological and natural product drug discovery and pharmaceutical nanotechnology tools, Dr. Bromann serves as Research Manager for the CDR. He provides support to the Director in the development and management activities of the CDR including: promoting and coordinating collaboration with domestic and international industry, academia, and government agencies; and, the facilitation of patenting and technology transfer of CDR innovations.


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