ICT, health and green technologies remain the priorities of the EU’s Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard for 2021. Poland, Hungary and Slovenia are listed with a company on the European map, Romania, not … Germany is the EU leader

According to the new edition of the EU Industrial Research and Development Investment Scoreboard , published on 17 December, despite a difficult global economic environment in 2020, EU companies have increased their investment in R&D in the health sector. and ICT services. The EU remains one of the leaders in the field of high-value patents for green technologies and green patents in energy-intensive industries, which is proof of its transformation towards climate neutrality.

The overall volume of R&D investments made by
EU companies have fallen for the first time in 10 years
Specifically, EU-based companies increased investment in research and development in the health sector (10.3%) and ICT services (7.2%), albeit at a slower pace than in the US and China. However, the overall volume of investment in research and development by EU companies has fallen for the first time in 10 years, mainly due to declining investment in R&D in the automotive, aerospace and defense sectors. In 2020, EU-based companies reduced their overall R&D investment volume by 2.2%. US and Chinese companies increased their overall investment in research and development by 9.1% and 18.1%, respectively. During the coronavirus crisis, US and Chinese-based companies increased their share of investment in research and development in certain sectors, such as the health sector (US: 17.9%; China: 30.7%), ICT services. (USA: 12.4%; China: 21.2%) and ICT producers (USA: 7.8%; China: 11.5%).


Although it has stimulated the rapid global growth of sectors such as ICT and health services, the pandemic has severely affected traditional industries such as the automotive industry (-4.3%) and the aerospace and defense industry (-17%). %). Given that the automotive sector is the largest R&D investment sector for EU companies, these declines have contributed to the overall decline in research and development. However, 14 EU companies ranked in the top 50 in the world’s top 2,500 R&D investors.


Investing in research and innovation is essential for European industry to take the lead in the green transition, excel in the fast-growing ICT sector, and lead the new wave of deep-tech innovation. of investment in EU industrial research and development clearly shows us in which sectors we need to step up our efforts, inviting us to invest now for the future. “, says optimistic Mariya Gabriel , Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth of the European Commission.

Globally, investments increased by 6% for the 11th consecutive year
Globally, investment in industrial R&D has proven to be resilient in the context of the coronavirus crisis. In 2020, they continued to grow, by 6% for the 11th consecutive year. By contrast, there were significant reductions in capital expenditures, net income and operating profits in the same year. The overall positive trend in R&D investment is evidence that companies are forward-looking and preparing for recovery by maintaining or increasing the volume of R&D investment, despite the fact that they have had to reduce their spending and revenue. decreased.

All companies ranked in the top five in 2020 belong to the digital sector
The importance of the ICT, healthcare, and automotive sectors in terms of global R&D competitiveness is illustrated by the fact that the aggregate volume of R&D investment in these three sectors has increased by more than 100% since 2010, and in the case of ICT services have even tripled. In terms of ranking the levels of investment made by companies, the ICT sector is consistently at the top of the dashboard, which highlights the growing level of “digitization” of the world economy. All companies ranked in the top five in 2020 belong to the digital sector. The dual green and digital transition is expected to improve the performance of EU companies in research and development and revitalize their industrial base, in line with the priorities of the EU’s industrial strategy and Europe’s ambitions to strengthen the innovation ecosystem and promote policies. relevant.

The European context

Since 2004, the European Commission has published each year the European Union’s Industrial Research and Development Investment Scoreboard . The 2021 edition of the scoreboard includes the 2,500 companies that have invested the largest amounts in research and innovation worldwide in 2020. The data presented in the scoreboard, taken from the most recent accounts published by companies, contain key indicators for the 2,500 parent companies and their more than 800,000 subsidiaries, which allow the analysis of economic and financial performance. company innovation. These companies, based in 39 countries, have each invested at least EUR 36.5 million in research and development, for a total of EUR 908.9 billion. The total volume of R&D investment shown in the 2021 Scoreboard is the equivalent of approximately 90% of global R&D funding for enterprises. The sample includes 401 EU-based companies, representing 20.3% of the total R&D investment in the sample, 779 US companies (37.8%), 597 Chinese companies (15.5%), 293 of Japanese companies (12.2%) and 430 from the rest of the world (14.2%).

For more information

1. The European Union’s 2021 scoreboard on industrial investment in research and development.

2. Interactive site

3. EU policy on industrial research and innovation