Joint Research Centre - European Commission

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


R&D Scoreboard: Despite crisis, top EU firms continue to invest in innovation

In the face of the continuing economic and financial crisis, major EU-based firms continue to rely on R&D for their competitive edge. They increased R&D investment by 8.9% in 2011, up from 6.1% in 2010. The increase nearly matches US firms (9%), beats the global average (7.6%) and is far ahead of Japanese companies (1.7%). R&D-intensive sectors tended to show above average employment growth. These are key findings of the European Commission's 2012 "EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard" of the top 1500 global R&D investors. The global top 50 includes 15 EU companies, 18 US firms and 12 from Japan. Japanese car manufacturer Toyota tops the ranking, with Volkswagen the top EU company in third place (€7.2 billion invested). Recently released Eurostat data shows that combined EU public and private research spending increased to 2.03% of GDP in 2011, from 2.01% in 2010. This was mainly due to increased private sector spending.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn , Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science said: "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. 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."