EU continues R&D push across the globe
Europeans have been driving research and development (R&D) over many years and continue to do so despite the financial and economic crisis currently felt around the world, the 2012 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard shows. Since 2011, EU-based companies have raised their R&D investment by 8.9 %, up from 6.1 % in 2010, which is just short of the 9 % average in the United States but 1.3 % higher than the global average and 7.2 % more compared to Japanese firms.
The 2012 Scoreboard, which covers the top 1,500 global R&D investors, indicates that R&D-intensive sectors tended to show above average employment growth. Of the 50 top-ranking companies worldwide, 15 are from the EU, 18 from the United States and 12 from Japan. The car-making giant Toyota ranks first, with the German automaker Volkswagen, which is the EU's top company, coming in third place.
Latest Eurostat data indicate that higher private sector spending increased combined EU public and private research spending to 2.03 % of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011 from 2.01 % in the year before.
'Knowledge is the lifeblood of European competitiveness, so the increase in R&D investment by EU companies is a call to arms in our battle for growth and jobs,' said Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. 'We now need to match private sector ambition with increased investment in R&D at national and European levels. EU leaders should send a strong signal by approving an ambitious budget for Horizon 2020, our future programme for research and innovation.'
Horizon 2020 is the latest EU programme for research and innovation. The Commission has proposed a budget of EUR 80 million to help increase research and innovation, which in turn will give growth and jobs a boost.
With regard to total investment, a breakdown shows that the United States surpassed the EU with EUR 178.4 billion invested versus EUR 144.6 billion. Of the top 100 firms that posted the largest R&D spending increases, Huawei, Apple and STMicroelectronics topped the list. The German and French automakers BMW and Renault reported increases in their levels of R&D spending for the automobile and parts sectors: 21.6 % and 19.4 %, respectively.
The report suggests that the automobile sector is a major contributor to R&D growth figures in the EU, with 25 % accounting for the biggest share of R&D investment.
The 2012 Scoreboard is based on a sample of 1,500 enterprises, which experts consider as being the top investors in R&D worldwide. It measures the total value of the companies' global R&D investment financed with own funds, regardless of the location where the key R&D occurs. Of the 1,500 companies, 405 are from the EU, 503 from the United States, 296 from Japan and 296 from the rest of the world.
It should be noted that the EU is a key R&D location for companies abroad, and that foreign R&D investments help raise competitiveness and employment in the EU.
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2012 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard:
Data Source Provider: European Commission
Document Reference: Based on the European Commission press release IP/12/1324
Subject Index: Coordination, Cooperation; Innovation, Technology Transfer; Scientific Research