The Czech Republic shoots for the future with investments in innovation

Published: 22.11.2021 Related countries:  Czech Republic Czech Republic

Expenditures on research and development in the Czech Republic hit record levels last year.

The Czech Republic is focusing more than ever on investing into research and development. Investments into innovation projects rose to a record high of CZK 113.4 billion last year, according to new data from the Czech Statistical Office.

Expenditures on research and development (R&D) have grown rapidly over recent years, although growth has slowed of late due to the impact of the Covid pandemic. Last year’s figure was an increase of CZK 1.8 billion on 2019, or less than 2 percent growth. From 2016 until the pandemic, annual increases were over 10 percent.

Still, in 2020, R&D expenditures were worth 1.99 percent of GDP, the highest share in the Czech Republic’s history, and the tenth highest level in the EU.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of innovation expenditure is coming from the business sector, which stands to benefit most from leadership in developing new technologies. Businesses spent CZK 66.1 billion on R&D, compared to CZK 24.5 billion spent on university research. Some of the biggest innovation spenders are foreign companies: out 26 companies spending over CZK 500 million, 21 are controlled by foreign owners.Unsurprisingly, most R&D spending is focused in Prague.

The automotive sector is a major recipient of R&D funds. The industry is subject to continuous technological improvements, and given the size of the Czech car industry, such innovation is of particular importance to the domestic economy. The sector is also seeking out foreign innovations, with a trade delegation from Taiwan set to visit Prague for meetings focusing on high-tech cooperation this October.

Yet through investments in domestic research and development projects, the Czech Republic could become a world leader in its own right. By boosting the activities of local companies and also creating opportunities for selling high-tech products abroad, attempts to make the country an innovation powerhouse could prove crucial to future prosperity.

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