JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE

European ICT sector maintains its R&D drive

Circuit board from an old hard drive ICT manufacturing has a much higher R&D intensity than ICT services
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Dec 21 2012

The Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector is one of the most research intensive sectors in the EU economy, meaning that it has a high ratio of Research & Development (R&D) expenditure if compared to its value added (its revenues less materials and services purchases). This is one of the main findings of a new report by the JRC's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), which also highlights that with a ratio of 5.3% in 2009, the R&D intensity of this sector was more than four times the average of all business sectors in the EU (1.2%).

Based on the latest available data from official sources (EUROSTAT and OECD for 2008 and 2009) the report shows that in 2009 the ICT sector accounted for 17% of the EU's total business R&D expenditure, while only representing 4% of the EU's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This share of GDP - stable over the last few years - amounted to a value added of € 470 billion in 2009 and represented over 6.1 million jobs.

Despite the decrease of R&D investment in the sector from 2008 to 2009 (-7%) and the loss of value added (-7.4%), it can be said that the R&D drive was stable, as the sector maintained an R&D intensity of 5.3% in 2009, very close to the 5.4% intensity registered in 2008. This R&D intensity positions ICT as a "high R&D intensity" sector such as pharmaceuticals & biotechnology or health care equipment and services, even at times of economic downturn.

This report is the fifth edition of a series published annually by the "PREDICT" project, which provides a detailed analysis of the state of Information and Communication Technologies R&D activities in the European Union. PREDICT is a project jointly funded by the JRC and the Directorate General for Communications Networks, Contents and Technology (DG CONNECT). PREDICT provides indicators for the Digital Agenda for Europe.