The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) researchers in the EU has increased in recent years. In 2020, there were 1.89 million researchers (in FTE) working in the Member States, 546 thousand more compared with 2010.
In the EU, most researchers worked in the business enterprise sector (55%) and the higher education sector (33%), followed by the government sector (11%).
The number of researchers (FTE) almost doubled in Greece and Hungary between 2010 and 2020, totalling 41 800 and 42 000 respectively last year. The same happened in Poland, where there were 124 400 FTE of these professionals in 2020, 59 900 more than in 2010.
Relatively high growth rates were also recorded in the Netherlands (89%), Malta (69%), Cyprus (67%) and Ireland (66%). The only Member State that registered the opposite tendency was Romania, where the number of researchers in FTE fell by 7%.
Looking at the rest of the world, the number of researchers in China (excluding Hong Kong) reached 2.11 million in 2019, followed by the United States in second place with 1.55 million researchers (2018 data), below the total number of researchers in the EU in 2020.
During 2010-2019, the number of researchers in Turkey more than doubled, totalling 135 500. South Korea also recorded a rapid increase in the number of researchers, up by 63% to 430 700. This rapid growth was also registered in China, up overall by almost three quarters (74%, 2019 data). In the United States, the growth rate was 30% (2018 data); however, it was lower than in the EU, where the number of researchers rose by 41%.
In contrast, the number of researchers fell by 9% in Russia and rose by 4% in Japan between 2010 and 2019.