R&D and the economic crisis: top EU firms cut investment less than US rivals, but Europe still well behind
The European Commission's 2010 "EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard" shows that R&D investment by top EU companies fell by 2.6% in 2009, even though sales and profits fell much more, by 10.1% and 21.0% respectively. The fall in R&D investment by leading players in the US, at 5.1%, was twice as sharp as in the EU, but the worldwide reduction was lower, at 1.9%. Japanese firms maintained their level of investment. Companies based elsewhere in Asia - China, India, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan - continued the high R&D growth seen in previous years. Japanese car maker Toyota is the world's biggest R&D investor (€6.8bn) for the second consecutive year. Three EU companies feature in the top ten: Volkswagen, the biggest investor based in Europe with €5.8bn, Nokia and Sanofi-Aventis. The Scoreboard covers the top 1400 companies worldwide.