The Commission's 2007 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, published on 5 October 2007, shows that EU-based companies' R&D investment continues to increase. This year's statistics show an increase of 7.4% whereas the 2006 scoreboard already showed an increase of 5.3% (see EurActiv 06/10/2006) after years of stagnation. There was even a 2% decrease registered in 2004.
"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," said Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik.
However, EU companies' R&D investment is still growing at a lower rate than that of their non-EU counterparts (10%). "This is due mainly to the structure of our R&D. We tend to focus on medium-intensity R&D sectors, where quite a low level of sales is reinvested in R&D whereas the rest of the world, particularly the United States and Japan, focus is on high-intensity R&D where a large volume of sales is reinvested in R&D," said Commission spokeswoman Antonia Mochan.
The scoreboard also shows that the pharmaceuticals sector (+15.8%) overtook technology hardware & equipment as the world's top R&D investor. The chemicals sector also saw a strong recovery in R&D investment (+9.8%), compared to the negative growth of the previous year, whereas the pace of R&D investments in the automobile & parts sector slowed down significantly.
Overall, apart from the main sectors investing in R&D, the highest R&D growth was shown by oil and gas producers (20.1%) followed by healthcare equipment and services (17.2%).
The world's biggest investor in R&D is the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer with €5.8 billion, followed by three other US companies: Ford Motors (€5.5 billion - last year's number one), Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft (€5.4 billion each).
The first EU company in the top ten is the German DaimlerChrysler with €5.2 billion. The UK pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline (7th) and the German Siemens (8th) also make it to the global top ten.