In 2018, Portugal’s higher education, research and innovation (HREI) budget totaled €2.7 billion ($3.1 billion), a 5.6% increase. Approximately €2.6 billion ($3.0 billion) came from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, with €504 million ($573.6 million) designated for functioning and investment, and the bulk, or €2.1 billion ($2.4 billion), allocated for higher education, which includes universities and polytechnics’ block funding, and social support.
The Ministry of Economy contributed €512 million ($582.7 million) of total HREI spending through European Structural and Investments Funds (ESIF), and €9 million ($10.2 million) came from the Ministry of Defense for defense R&D support. The remainder of funding came from various ministries for the state labs that come under their purviews, contributing €137 million ($155.9 million) from national funds and €2 million ($2.3 million) from ESIF funds.
ESIF funding for HREI has been steadily increasing. Previous to 2014, ESIF funding was approximately 21% of national research and innovation funding; currently, it accounts for nearly 33%. Including national co-funding, total funding through ESIF instruments represents almost 50% of all public funding support for research and innovation, indicating the high proportion of EU policy funding in Portugal’s public HREI spending. This makes Portugal less reliant on ESIF funds for R&D investments than countries such as Estonia, Latvia or Poland, but more reliant than countries such as Spain and Italy. Total ESIF investment, which includes EU and federal co-funding, accounted for 23% of government expenditure on R&D and almost 50% of public funding support for research and innovation.
For the 2014–20 period, excluding higher education, research and innovation funding from ESIF totaled €3.6 billion ($4.1 billion), approximately €513 million ($583.8 million) per year and nearly 20% of total ESIF in the country.