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R&D boost in Finland’s 2013 budget

Finland's proposed budget for 2013, published by the government on 30 August, includes tax incentives to boost R&D.

The government proposes a temporary income tax reduction for investments in start-up companies, and similar measures to boost patenting activity.

Research, development and innovation activities receive €428m in funding and €109m in loans to be distributed by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes).

The decline of Finland’s R&D giant Nokia is one of the reasons behind the R&D support measures in the budget.

However, while innovation gets a boost, funding for higher education is set to decrease in real terms.

The university funding index will be frozen for 2013. This means a loss of around €40m in university funding. Academic unions criticize this proposal, which they say could force universities to skimp on staff salaries and hiring.

The budget comes against an uncertain global economic backdrop. The halt in EU’s economic growth has had a knock-on on Finnish exports. The government estimates economic growth to be around 1 per cent next year, driven almost exclusively by domestic demand.

The budget proposal will be sent to parliament for debate on 17 September.