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Research and development (R&D) in the business sector

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The survey Research and development (R&D) in the business sector is conducted biennialy. The questions are about R&D expenditures and R&D personnel.

The main users of the statistics are government agencies and research councils. The statistics are also used by individual researchers and international organizations such as the EU, OECD and UNESCO. Statistics Sweden uses the results in calculations of Sweden’s GDP.


Instructions (pdf) 
(only available in Swedish)

Questionnaire (pdf)
(in English)

What is research?

Research is a systematic work to find new knowledge or new ideas with or without the aim of a particular purpose.

What are development activities?

Development is systematic work that uses research results, scientific knowledge or new ideas to bring about new materials, goods, services, processes, systems, methods or significant improvements of those that already exist.

How can one distinguish between ordinary business activities and R&D activities?

The basic criterion for distinguishing R&D from related activities is the presence in R&D of an appreciable element of novelty and the resolution of scientific and/or technological uncertainty, i.e. when the solution to a problem is not readily apparent to someone familiar with the basic stock of common knowledge and techniques for the area concerned.

In all R&D work, there should be an element of novelty. Normal engineering or examination that follows established procedures are not considered to be R&D. In serial production the development and construction of the prototype is R&D work, but the production of the first series unit is not. In the social sciences and humanities R & D work focused on further processing and the development of research and ideas based on previous results.

What if precise data on R&D is not available?

If precise data is not available or is difficult to gain access to, estimates and rounded figures may be submitted. 

Which enterprises should be included in the figures?

Information should refer to the enterprise, i.e. the legal entity or accounting unit. Within a group of enterprises, each enterprise is its own survey unit, unless Statistics Sweden has notified otherwise.

Which reporting period should the information on R&D refer to?

The information should refer to the calendar year 2021. If your records refer to another period due to a broken accounting year, and you do not have the exact information or if the information is difficult to obtain, we appreciate if you make an estimate for the whole calendar year.

There are also a few questions on estimates for 2022.

Survey timetable

Please return the questionnaire by March 25th 2022.

Frequently asked questions

What if user ID and password is lost?

Please contact us and we will send the user ID and password again. If you contact us by mail, please tell us your corporate identity number and which address the information should be sent to.

Why is it important that we submit information?

For the statistical methodology to provide accurate results, it is equally important to get responses from all the companies in the sample, regardless if the enterprise conducts R&D or not.

The information is needed since the information submitted will be used to calculate GDP. The results from the R&D survey are also used as a basis for policy decisions and in research.

Can we be allowed a respite to submit data?

If you cannot submit data to SCB before deadline, please contact us. If you send e-mail, type the corporate registration number.

Can the enterprise get paid for submitting data to Statistics Sweden?

No. There is an obligation to provide information for the R&D survey, therefore no compensation.

Publishing of the results

The results of the survey are published in October at Statistics Sweden’s webpage.

View the final statistics

Legal Information

The obligation to provide information is mandatory under the Official Statistics Act (2001:99). The statistics for this survey are also regulated according to the Official Statistics Ordinance (2001:100) and SCB's Regulation (SCB-FS 2022:3).

The information that is submitted to Statistics Sweden is protected according to chapter 24 section 8 of the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (2009:400). When the information is published, no single workplace or enterprise will be able to be identified. Consultation has taken place with the Swedish Better Regulation Council.

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