Investment in research and innovation is at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy, which has set a goal for Europe's market economy in the 21st century to emerge from the crisis stronger and turn the EU into a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy, delivering high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion. Private sector R&D investments play a particularly important role in this strategy both as part of the 3% EU headline target for R&D investment intensity (in terms of GDP) and in their contribution to the so-called "Innovation Union" and "Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era" flagship initiatives.
The Industrial Research Monitoring and Analysis (IRMA) initiative supports policymakers in these initiatives and monitors progress towards the associated (Barcelona) targets. The EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard is at the heart of the IRMA project, analysing private R&D from a company perspective based on the audited annual accounts of companies. The Scoreboard therefore examines trends ex-post. As part of IRMA, additional instruments have been developed around the Scoreboard to obtain a greater understanding of companies investing in R&D by establishing direct contact with them and collecting up-to-date information on trends and main factors: the EU Surveys on R&D Investment Business Trends and techno-economic analysis of key sectors.
Role of the Sector Studies
The role of the techno-economic analysis of key sectors is to take a bottom-up sector focus. The R&D information from the Scoreboard and Survey is validated and complemented with main sector trends and drivers and a bottom-up view via personal dialogue with key R&D players, so that feedback is captured directly.
The focus of these interviews is a high value-added exchange of information to address the role of R&D (and innovation) for competitiveness, assess R&D capacities of EU vs. non-EU companies, identify supply and demand factors in the value chain and factors determining attractiveness for locating manufacturing, pilot and R&D facilities, and assess the competitiveness position of EU industry vs. main competitors like the US, Japan, or emerging Asian countries. Due to the focus of the sector studies and the limited resources, in addition to the interviewees, these activities rely on the involvement of external experts and stakeholders.
For reasons of data protection, all information provided during the company interviews is presented in an anonymous fashion. It should be kept in mind that the findings presented here are subject to the limitations of the approach both in terms of resources and sample size and do not represent an official position of the European Commission. Being a stocktaking exercise, the sector studies may include sometimes partial views, but this is rather typical of such bottom-up approaches and reflects the dynamic nature of the sectors and their market environment.