Lisbon, Aug. 21 (Lusa) – Portugal’s minister for science, technology and higher education, Manuel Heitor, has hailed 2016 as “a year of change in which a new cycle of growth began” for scientific research and innovation.
“But we need to continue,” he added, in comments to Lusa on Monday. “We have to start to guarantee, in a systematic way, an increase in public spending [by higher education institutions] at considerable rates.”
He stressed that, without such an increase in public spending, it is not possible to stimulate growth in corporate spending on research.
Heitor was commenting on official government figures just out that show that spending on research and development swelled €113.3 million last year to €2.3477 billion, equivalent to 1.27% of gross domestic product. In 2015, it was 1.24% of GDP.
Last year was thus the first time since 2010, when the economic crisis began in Portugal, that R&D spending as a share of GDP had increased.
According to the minister, the ideal now would be for annual increases in public spending on R&D of at least €50 million in public spending every year from 2018 to 2022, to leverage growth in private spending of between €200 million and €300 million a year.
In this way, he noted, overall spending on science and innovation would reach 2.15% of GDP in 2022.
“If we do that, we’ll make a leap in economic specialisation as we had never done before,” he said.
Asked whether these goals formed part of the 2018 state budget that is now taking shape, Heitor said only that the document “is under discusstion in the government”.
ER/ARO // ARO.