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Researchers in business: recruitment slowdown in 2005

Fabrice Martin, translation by Cynthia Schoch

In 2005, expenditure on R&D grew at a steady pace. However, the number of researchers rose at a slower rate than in prior years.

According to a recent memo of the Evaluation, Forecasting and Performance Department of the Higher Education and Research Ministry, Gross Domestic Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) reached 36. 7 billion euros in 2005 and it is estimated to have reached 38 billion in 2006. Those figures may not mean much to you, but they put France in fifth place worldwide, behind the United States, Japan, China and Germany.

Not so bad? Then consider this: A comparison of France’s R&D expenditure to its GDP shows steadily declining GERD/GDP ratio: 2.12% in 2006 compared to 2.13 in 2005 and 2.14 in 2004. The least we can say is that France is not taking the road marked out by the European Commission in Lisbon in 2000, which set a target of 3% in 2010.

This slump naturally has repercussions on jobs for researchers: in 2005, the increase in the number of researchers working in business was smaller than in prior years (+2.2% instead of an average of 7.1% per year between 2000 and 2004).

It should be noted, however, that R&D employs nearly 360,000 people (at least in “full-time equivalents") in France, 57% of them researchers (including funded doctoral students). The number of researchers (204,500 in 2005) rose by over more than 20% from 2000 to 2005.

Source: Dépenses de recherche et développement en France en 2005, premières estimations pour 2006, Memo no. 07.40 of the Evaluation, Forecasting and Performance Department of the Higher Education and Research Ministry, November 2007.
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