Economic importance of physics

March 27, 2013

Millions of jobs and trillions in turnover and GDP generated by physics in Europe as it carves the continent a future, new study reveals

The European Physical Society today announces the publication of a ground-breaking new report entitled “The Importance of Physics to the Economies of Europe”.

 

It reveals the huge and growing significance the contribution of physics-based industries make to the European economy.

 

Created in 1968, the EPS represents 41 member societies throughout the continent, a large and varied community of physicists. One of the main objectives of the EPS is to give them a coherent voice in Europe.

 

Physics is vital to European culture.

 

But how important is physics to the economies of European countries?

 

To answer this crucial question, the EPS commissioned an independent economic analysis from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), marking  the first time such a study has been performed on this scale, and covering 29 European countries (the EU27 plus Norway and Switzerland).

 

The resulting four-year snapshot (covering the 2007-2010 period – for which the most recent complete set of data were available) of the European economy shows that the physics-based industrial sector:

 

  • generated £3.8 trillion of turnover, around 15% of total turnover in Europe’s business economy, exceeding the contribution made by the entire retail sector, and
  • over 15 million jobs corresponding to over 13% of overall employment in the business economy of Europe

 

A new European research programme Horizon 2020 is being launched to reinforce the intimate link between science and technological applications in stimulating Europe’s research and innovation

 

Horizon 2020 provokes questions like: ‘How worthwhile is it to maintain and increase investment in physics?’

 

Our hope is that the message conveyed by the EPS in this comprehensive and fact-filled study will be inspiring for the future both at European and national levels.

 

We also hope the study makes a convincing and undeniable case for the support of physics in all its facets, from education to research, and in business to industry.

 

The thorough analysis of European data, contained in the full Cebr report, can provide us with a deeper understanding of the many achievements and drawbacks within the physics-based sector in a recent past.

 

The most relevant results, highlighted in an Executive Summary, are available at www.eps.org/physicsandeconomy.

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