Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

The ICT sector in the EU accounts for 26% of overall business expenditure in research and development

The ICT sector in the EU accounts for 26% of overall business expenditure in research and development

ICT companies lead the way in R&D investment


The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector accounts for 26% of all industrial Research and Development (R&D) expenditure in the EU and employs 32% of business sector researchers, according to the 2009 Report on R&D in ICT in the European Union (PREDICT) recently published by the JRC's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies.

Although the European ICT sector only represents about 3% of total employment in the EU and 4.9% of GDP, it is by far the largest R&D investing sector of the economy. Furthermore, the JRC report shows that the ICT sector in the EU's main competitors (such as the US, Japan, or Korea) also has the lead in their respective economies in terms of R&D expenditure.

The research, which provides for the first time a comprehensive overview of ICT R&D investment in the EU (2001-2005) by combining national statistics, company data and technology indicators, also reveals that additional ICT R&D is carried out in Europe within non-ICT designated sectors such as the automotive industry. The report contains a host of information on economic trends in the ICT sector, examining the input-output relationship of ICT R&D and offering an analysis of EU ICT patents.

The research indicates that the reduction since 2001 in the number of researchers in ICT manufacturing was counterbalanced by an increase of researchers in ICT services. However, the EU's main competitors are shown to be investing significantly more in ICT R&D than the EU (when comparing ICT R&D against GDP ratios).

PREDICT is a research project co-financed by JRC-IPTS and the Commission's Information Society and Media Directorate-General. This report is the first of a series which will be published annually.