Turkey’s spending on research and development (R&D) increased to 1.06% of its gross domestic product (GDP) last year, the highest in a decade, the country’s industry and technology minister said Friday.
"We broke the record for the past 10 years," Mustafa Varank wrote on Twitter.
The ratio stood at 1.03% in 2018, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). Gross domestic expenditure on R&D increased TL 7.42 billion ($931.8 million) to TL 45.95 billion in 2019, TurkStat said Friday.
Some 64.2% of the total R&D spending came from financial and non-financial corporations, said Varank, adding that 56.3% of its financing came from the private sector.
“The private sector reveals the spirit of innovation exactly as we want it to,” the minister added.
The financial and non-financial corporations were followed by higher education at 29.2% and general government, including the private non-profit sector, by 6.6%, the data showed.
Personnel expenditures constituted the largest expenditure item in R&D spending at 51.6%.
Some 29.4% of the financing came from the government, followed by higher education with 12.8% and foreign funds 1.5%.
Some 182,000 personnel were employed in the R&D industry, up 6.2% year-on-year, the data showed.
In recent years, Turkey has made major investments to boost its technology infrastructure, particularly with its National Technology Move.
The National Technology Move refers to the transformation of Turkey's technology industry through local and unique concepts created by its own people. The term was first used in 2017.
Turkey has over 80 technoparks – special technology development zones – and over 6,000 firms are performing R&D activities in these zones.
So far, more than 30,000 R&D projects have been completed, and there are 10,000 ongoing projects.
Turkey has also around 1,500 R&D and design centers, while the number of R&D personnel increased by over three times to 180,000 in the last 13 years.
The country design centers work to develop, improve and diversify private sector products to boost the country's competitive edge in international markets.
The country spent TL 14.9 billion from the government budget for R&D activities last year, according to TurkStat. The figure was up 14.6% from the previous year.
Budget outlays for R&D accounted for 0.35% of the GDP in 2019.
General university funds received the largest share of expenditures with 43.6% followed by defense with 18.7% and industrial production and technology with 10.6%.
Turkey had earlier earmarked TL 14.3 billion for R&D for the budgetary year 2020.
A recent joint report by the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) and TurkStat revealed that Turkish firms’ R&D expenditures exceeded TL 63 billion between 2010 and 2019.
The manufacturing sector topped the list with some TL 27.9 billion, while the information and communication sector came second with TL 12.9 billion.
R&D expenditures by firms were recorded as TL 2.4 billion in 2010 but showed a continuously increasing pattern in the following years with TL 3.3 billion, TL 3.6 billion, TL 4 billion, TL 4.8 billion, TL 5 billion, TL 5.9 billion, TL 7.8 billion, TL 10.6 billion and lastly TL 15.9 billion last year.
The mining and quarrying sector ranked third in R&D expenditures during the 10-year period with TL 11.1 billion.
In the wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles sector, some TL 4.5 billion R&D expenditures were recorded, while the professional, scientific and technical activities sector followed it with TL 3.5 billion.
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