Nutrimento & nutriMENTE

Corporate R&D investments still rising, Commission study shows

By Redazione

Corporate investments in research and development (R&D) by EU-based companies rose by 7,4% last year, according to the latest edition of the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard,
which the European Commission publishes annually.

The latest results build on a positive trend which began in 2005, when average R&D spending rose by 5.3%. Prior to that, changes in spending were either negative or showed only small
increases.

‘We are only ever going to improve our R&D performance if more companies see the benefit of investing in research,’ said European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik. ‘The
positive upward trend in R&D investment seen in the last two years is encouraging, and leads me to believe that our innovation strategy is on the right track. But we must not allow
ourselves to be complacent – quite the opposite: we should reinforce the positive measures already taken to consolidate and improve private investment in R&D.’

The Commissioner’s warning is timely: the scoreboard revealed that R&D investments by EU-based companies are still growing at a slower rate than their non-EU counterparts, who saw their
investments go up by 10% in the same period. According to the Commission, this difference can be explained by a growth rate in high R&D intensive sectors outside the EU of almost twice that
inside the EU.

The scoreboard is drawn up by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre as part of its Industrial Research Investment Monitoring activity. Analysts compare the R&D spending of the top
1,000 EU-based companies with the top 1,000 companies from the rest of the world. Data is taken from the company accounts and does not reflect where the money was spent, just the origin of the
company making the investment.

Together, the 2,000 companies covered by the scoreboard invested ?372 billion in R&D, equivalent to over 85% of corporate expenditure on R&D worldwide.

This year American pharmaceutical company Pfizer topped the list of companies ranked by their total R&D investment, with a total spend of ?5.8 billion. Three European companies made it into
the top ten; DaimlerChrysler came in at number five with ?5.2 billion, and GlaxoSmithKline and Siemens made it to positions seven and eight respectively.

Looking at sectors, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector overtook the technology hardware and equipment sector to take the top spot. The chemicals sector also showed strong growth, as
did aerospace and defence.

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