R&D personnel

  • Nearly 54,000 full-time equivalents employed in research and development

    The Flemish Region had 53,933 full-time equivalents working in research and development in 2018 (R&D personnel).This number has been rising steadily in recent years. Between 2006 and 2018, the number of full-time units for R&D increased by 55%.

  • 6 out of 10 R&D personnel working in businesses

    The majority of the personnel working in research and development is employed in businesses. In 2018, they accounted for 63% of full-time R&D equivalents. The second biggest actor was higher education (27%).


    The share of businesses was on the decline between 2006 and 2013, only to rise again from 2014 onwards. The shares of the government agencies 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.


  • Flemish Region among European top tier in share of R&D personnel

    In 2017, R&D personnel in the Flemish Region accounted for 2.8% of total employment. This share was higher in the Brussels Region (4.8%), and lower in the Walloon Region (2.1%).

    At European level, Denmark ranked highest (3.4% in 2017), followed by Austria, Sweden and Finland. Belgium achieved 2.8%. The share of R&D personnel in total employment was lowest in a number of southern and Mediterranean EU countries, with Romania at the bottom (0.5%).


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

20 August 2020

Next update

June 2021

More numbers

Previous revisions