Europe starts to outpace US in R&D investment growth

R&D investment by EU companies has increased by 8.8 per cent compared to the increased R&D investment by US companies of 8.6 per cent, according to the 2008 edition of the recently published European Commission’s annual Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard

Three EU companies feature in the top ten: Nokia in 5th place (up from 17th), with an R&D investment of €5.3 billion, Volkswagen in 9th (up from 14th) and Daimler in 10th (down from 5th). The world’s biggest investor in R&D in 2008 is Microsoft, with €5.6 billion. Trends show increased sales and profitability for EU companies and for the first time since records began in 2004, R&D investment growth in the EU companies is greater than that of their US counterparts.

“We are pleased that R&D investment growth in EU companies has increased, against the background of a slight fall in the growth rate worldwide,” said European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik. “In particular, companies in the energy field are rapidly increasing their R&D investments, responding to the need to make more efficient use of limited resources.”

He went on to say that private sector R&D in Europe remains at 1 per cent of GDP, amidst signs that EU companies are making an increasing share of their R&D investments outside Europe. “Therefore, we must continue our efforts to make Europe a more attractive place for business R&D, notably by creating a truly European Research Area, in order to reach the Lisbon objectives.”

The EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard is published annually by the European Commission as part of its Industrial Research Investment Monitoring activity. It shows that worldwide corporate R&D investment growth decreased from 10 per cent in last year’s Scoreboard to 9 per cent, but EU corporate R&D investment growth increased by 8.8 per cent, up from 7.4 per cent on last year’s Scoreboard. EU companies are almost closing the gap in R&D growth rate compared to all non-EU companies, and it is slightly ahead of the R&D investment growth rate in US Scoreboard companies, which has dropped sharply from 13.3 per cent to 8.6 per cent.

The 2008 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard has been prepared jointly by DG Research and the Joint Research Centre and can be downloaded from: http://iri.jrc.ec.europa.eu

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