OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy: Austria 2018

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Over the past two decades, Austria has become one of the most R&D intensive economies among OECD countries and in the world, dedicating 3.1% of its GDP on R&D in 2016, the second highest figure in the European Union. To fully harness this R&D capacity, Austrian innovation policy needs to put a stronger emphasis on efficiency in transforming R&D inputs into impacts. To achieve higher impacts, Austria also needs to steer its research and innovation system towards leadership excellence in global markets. This requires enhanced international attractiveness for top-level researchers and talent, and a conducive environment for highly innovative enterprises. Austria could also benefit from strengthening R&D and innovation to support key transitions, such as digitalisation and Industry 4.0, and to tackle key societal challenges. The STI policy mix and governance arrangements should be adapted accordingly.



Executive summary

Austria’s innovation system has developed rapidly over the past two decades. From 1998 to 2016, Austria showed the second highest increase in R&D intensity of all OECD countries, exceeded only by Korea. The rapid growth of R&D inputs was matched by a similar increase in human resources for STI. Increased resources have helped to expand STI activities and opportunities for learning, but outputs and outcomes have not always met expectations. To become a leader in innovation, Austria faces the challenge of transforming its sizeable investment in STI into more decisive economic and social impacts.


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