R&D expenditures (R&D) are an important precondition for the economic growth and development, as well as for the improvement of export performances and competitiveness of national economies. Knowledge has been increasingly identified as the primary factor of economic growth in the modern business environment. In order to outline appropriate policy on R&D expenditures, it is necessary to analyse indicators of the dynamics and quality of R&D expenditures as well as indicators regarding growth and development of national economies. In this paper, we present R&D expenditures of old and new EU Member States as well as Serbia. Based on the correlation intensity of indicators of R&D expenditures and economic growth and export, it’s been analysed if R&D intensity has an impact on competitiveness and growth in mentioned countries since 2000. Although Serbia has implemented significant economic reforms since 2000 and there has been an overall awareness of the need on higher R&D, the R&D sector still lags behind developed countries of the EU. Therefore, this paper directs attention to the importance of identifying and implementing a national policy on R&D expenditures, with special focus on necessity for improved R&D funding of the business sector and growth of R&D funding from abroad.