• Pharmaceutical company KRKA: R&D department

Infrastructure & Utilities


Research & Development

Scientific research and development activities in Slovenia are well developed. However, in 2018 its performance has declined relative to that of the EU in 2011. The country has is currently identified as a Moderate Innovator according to European Innovation Scoreboard 2019, prepared by the European Commission. 

Slovenia has also been listed on the 2019 Bloomberg Innovation Index. Among 50 world's most innovative economies Slovenia ranks 31st place.

R&D expenditure


According to the estimate, in 2017 the share of gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) in GDP was 1.86%, which is slightly under EU average. Most of the funds for R&D in Slovenia were provided by the business enterprise sector, i.e. 75% of total funds (Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia).

R&D intensity (GERD as % of GDP), 2017

Source: Eurostat, 2019

R&D personnel


Latest figures by Eurostat reveal that the percentage of research and development personnel of the total labour force is over the EU-28 average. More than 14,700 scientists, researchers and developers are active in Slovenia.

R&D personnel by sector of employment, 2017

Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, 2019

R&D statistics


European patent applications per million of population, 2018

Source: European Patent Office, Annual report 2018

By international comparison standards, Slovenia is ranked high. Following the Science-Metrix data from 2004 onwards, Slovenia exceeds the average growth in the EU within the top 10% of highly cited publications per million of the population. Additionally, the number of scientific publications per capita in Slovenia is above the average recorded in the EU.

Most of the new EU Member States remain at a rather low level of national patenting, measured as EPO patent applications per million of inhabitants. Slovenia is an exception to the rule with 47.1 patent applications per million inhabitants in 2018.

The core part of the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) is the calculation of the Summary Innovation Index (SII) among EU-28 Member States. Countries are classified into 4 groups depending on their average innovation performance. 

  • Innovation leaders: Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden.
  • Innovation followers: Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, and United Kingdom.
  • Moderate innovators:  Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
  • Modest Innovators: Bulgaria and Romania

Source: Innovation Union Scoreboard 2019.


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