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Academia/Scientific organisation

1. Definition

This classification is the Eurostat standard code list for the classification of fields of science and technology (FOS 2007). The classification of field of science is based on the nomenclature suggested by UNESCO: Recommendation concerning the International Standardisation of Statistics on Science and Technology.


2. Objectives

  • Classification of all the field of science and technology
  • Approved by consensus by experts
  • Used in Pan-European and Worldwide organisations


3. Owner

FOS 2007 has been developed under the supervision of the OECD.


4. Intended audience

FOS 2007 has been developed in order to provide to all persons and organisations that may need to have a classification of the field of science and technology such a tool. The main target was the statistical institutes or organisations that may need to create statistics on the topic. This classification should be used for the R&D expenditure of the government, higher education and PNP (Private Non-Profit) sectors and if possible of the BE (Business enterprise) sector and for personnel data in all sectors.


5. Long description

FOS 2007 defines six fields of science, which are:

  • natural sciences,
  • engineering and technology,
  • medical sciences,
  • agricultural sciences,
  • social sciences, and
  • humanities.


6. Known implementations

UNESCO and Eurostat both use this classification, as well as countries that have to deal with or provide information to them. Furthermore, United Nations’ UNstats has implemented FOS 2007 as well.


7. History / Key milestones

The previous FOS classification from the Frascati Manual in 2002 did not fully reflect changes in the science and technology area, especially with regard to emerging technology fields such as ICT, biotechnology and nanotechnology. Therefore, in 2002, the Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (NESTI) decided to set up a Task Force to work on this specific issue. They provided the current version of FOS in 2007. This Task Force was led by OECD and had on board the Netherlands, Australia, Norway, Portugal, as well as Eurostat and UNESCO.


8. Additional documents

Europa Legal Notice

FOS07 - Standard Code List in MS-Excel format

Detailed information

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European Union


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