Full-time equivalent (FTE) of R&D personnel is defined as the ratio of working hours actually spent on R&D during a specific reference period (usually a calendar year) divided by the total number of hours conventionally worked in the same period by an individual or by a group. In other words, one full-time equivalent may be thought of as one person-year. Thus, a person who normally spends 30% of his/her time on R&D and the rest on other activities (such as teaching, university administration and student counselling) should be considered as 0.3 FTE. Similarly, if a full-time R&D worker is employed at an R&D unit for only six months, this results in an FTE of 0.5. Therefore, it is measured by combining two variables: actual involvement in R&D activities and formal engagement on the basis of normative/statutory working hours. FTE is considered to be a true measure of the volume of R&D and also the main R&D personnel statistic for international comparisons.
OECD (2015), Frascati Manual 2015: Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development.