Despite the ongoing effects of the global economic crisis, European Union Member States have made good progress towards strengthening the sustainability and competitiveness of their industrial sectors.
That said, there is still work to be done. And in an effort to facilitate reform and policy learning, the European Commission has released a new Industrial Performance Scoreboard.
Despite the ongoing effects of the global economic crisis, European Union Member States have made good progress towards strengthening the sustainability and competitiveness of their industrial sectors. They have implemented reforms to promote growth and jobs, accelerating the shift towards a knowledge-based economy.
That said, there is still work to be done. And in an effort to facilitate reform and policy learning, the European Commission has released a new Industrial Performance Scoreboard. The Scoreboard looks at industrial performance in five key areas – manufacturing productivity, export performance, innovation and sustainability, the business environment and infrastructure, and finance and investment.
Based on key industrial indicators, countries are classified in three main groups. First, the consistent performers, whose industries are dominated by technologically advanced firms with highly-skilled workers. Second, the uneven performers, countries that show strong performance in some areas but that must make up ground in some others. And finally, the ‘catching-up’ group, whose competitiveness is affected by weak innovation capacity and knowledge transfer.
Total investment by companies in the scoreboard shows that the US is still ahead of the EU, explained by the higher number of high-tech firms in the US (€178.4 billion versus €144.6 billion). Companies showing the largest R&D expenditure increases among the top 100 are in the ICT sector, such as Huawei (48.4%), Apple (36.3%) and STMicroeleectronics (34.5%). Other companies in the top 100 with large jumps in their levels of R&D investment are from the automobile and parts sectors, some based in the EU such as BMW (21.6%) and Renault (19.4%).
In the EU, R&D growth figures in 2011 are to a large extent driven by the automobile sector (16.2% growth), which accounts for the biggest share of R&D investment in the EU (25%). Companies based in Germany, which account for around one third of the EU's total private R&D investment, increased R&D by 9.5%. Companies in the UK and France, which also account for a large proportion of private research, had growth of 13.1% and 7.6% respectively.
The 2012 Scoreboard is based on a sample of 1500 companies, the world's top investors in R&D and equivalent to almost 90% of the total expenditure on R&D by businesses worldwide. It measures the total value of their global R&D investment financed with own funds, irrespective of the location where the relevant R&D takes place. Out of the 1500 companies, 405 are based in the EU, 503 in the US, 296 in Japan and 296 in the rest of the world including Switzerland, South Korea, China, India and 23 other countries. Each of the Scoreboard countries invested €35 million or more in R&D in 2011.
The Scoreboard data shows that employment growth is generally higher in R&D-intensive sectors. Overall employment figures of a sample of 815 Scoreboard companies increased by 22.3% during the period 2003-2011, led by increases in highly R&D-intensive sectors (36.1%). In the EU sample, employment growth was very strong in high-tech sectors (38%), with 20% growth in the medium-high and 19% in the low-intensity sectors.
A new study highlights that the European Union is an attractive R&D location for firms from outside the EU, and that foreign R&D investments are a big source of employment and competitiveness in Europe. US firms in particular increased their R&D expenditures in the EU from USD 12 billion in 2000 to USD 23 billion by 2008. US firms spend ten times more on R&D in the European Union than in China and India combined. A recent survey (IP/12/905) of top EU firms indicated the strong positive effects of public R&D investment on private R&D, including fiscal incentives, national grants, EU financial support and public-private partnerships both at national and EU level.
Horizon 2020 is the new EU programme for research and innovation, presented by the Commission as part of its EU budget proposal for 2014 to 2020. In order to give a boost to research and innovation as a driver of growth and jobs, the Commission has proposed an €80 billion budget, up from the €55 billion of the current Framework Programme FP7.
The European Union has set a target that combined public and private research spending should reach 3% of GDP by 2020. This Europe 2020 headline indicator should be quickly complemented by a headline indicator on innovation, currently under development