EU companies close R&D investment gap with competitors

October 9, 2006

Brussels, 06 Oct 2006

EU companies have significantly increased their investment in research and development (R&D), a trend which, if it continues, could help Europe close the investment gap between it and other world R&D players, a European Commission survey has revealed. The Industrial R&D Scoreboard looked at R&D spending by 2,000 European and non-European companies, and found that together these companies invested some €371 billion in 2005, 7% more than in 2004.

Broken down, the figures reveal that European companies increased their R&D investment by an average of 5.3%. This is an improvement on 2004, when investment was sluggish and growth fell by 2%. The survey suggests that European companies may be catching up with their counterparts: in 2005, the R&D investment of non-European companies rose by 7.7%.

The scoreboard also shows that European companies are as eager to invest in R&D as their competitors with 18 of the top 50 worldwide investors companies based in Europe. Many of the top R&D investors are from the automobile and parts sectors, pharmaceuticals and IT hardware. In Europe, the leading investor is German carmaker DaimlerChrysler AG (DCX), which spent €5.6 billion on R&D in 2005. It ranks fourth worldwide. The company has sunk down the leader board however - in last year's scoreboard DaimlerChrysler was feted as the world's top investor in R&D.

Commenting of the scoreboard, EU Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik said that latest figures were very encouraging. 'If this trend continues, we could gradually close the R&D investment gap. I hope that at the Lahti summit later this month, European leaders will support the Commission's proposals to go further to boost innovation in Europe, and give even more impetus to these positive developments.'

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