BRIC’s booming in R&D
Worldwide spending on corporate R&D increased by 6.9% in2008, according to the EU Industrial R&D InvestmentScoreboard.For companies with their headquarters in the EU,investment growth was 8.1% higher than the previous year. This wasa significantly greater increase than the 5.7% growth recorded byUS firms and the 4.4% increase recorded in Japan.
Two European companies feature in the top ten forindustrial R&D investment, with Volkswagen coming in thirdplace and Nokia coming eighth. Topping the table was Toyota, whichspent €7.61 billion. US firms were, on average, moreconservative than their European competitors, but American firmsstill account for half of the top ten corporations when it comes toR&D investment: namely Microsoft, General Motors, Pfizer,Ford and Johnson & Johnson. Switzerland also had two companiesin the top tier – Roche and Novartis.
Companies based in emerging economies continued to show thehighest R&D growth, led by China with a 40% increase, India(27.3%), Taiwan (25.1%) and Brazil (18.6%). This is line withexpectations that China and India could overtake Europe and the USto become world leaders in research by 2025. While R&D spendingmay have remained robust in 2008, the Scoreboard also providesdetails of company operating profits, which fell by 30.5% in the EUand 19.1% in the US.
Pharma and biotech lead the way
Research growth in the US is dominatedby knowledge-intensive sectors, includingpharmaceuticals, biotechnology and IT, while R&D growth inthe EU is more evenly spread across all sectors.
EU companies lead the way in the medium-high and medium-lowR&D intensity areas, such as the car parts, electricalequipment and chemicals sectors. The pharmaceuticals andbiotechnology sector reinforces its position as the topR&D investor both worldwide and in the US, accounting for 18.9%and 25% respectively.
The automobiles and parts sector is the thirdbiggest worldwide, accounting for 17.1%, but the first in EUand Japan, accounting for 25% and 27% respectively. Despite beingthe first sector to be hit by the economic crisis, someautomobile companies recorded double-digit R&D growth inthe past year.
This year’s Scoreboard also confirms the strong R&D activityof companies active in renewable energy technologies. The six EUcompanies from this sector showed impressive growth in R&Dinvestment over the last three years. (bron:Euractiv)
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