About us

The Economics of Industrial Research & Innovation (IRI) is a scientific project carried out within the Directorate B: Growth and Innovation, one of the seven scientific institutes of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).

The project aims at providing EU policy-makers, academia, and other institutional and economic actors with robust empirical scientific-sound evidence and analysis on the contribution of private-sector R&D to sustainable competitiveness and "prosperity" in the EU.

This should lead to the elaboration of medium and long-term evidence-based policy options to support the development and implementation of EU policies which considers investment in knowledge and innovation a main driver for achieving a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The project provides a platform for the long-term collection, monitoring, analysis and reporting of information on private-sector research and innovation activities in the EU, with particular emphasis on the relation between research, innovation, and economic and sustainability performance.

Policy context 

The EU economic and policy actors fully recognize the crucial role of corporate R&D and innovation in driving sustainable development and socio-economic transformations. Yet, at the global level, the industry is undergoing a profound structural transformation due to technological, business and social innovation. Nonetheless, evidence indicates that in the last decade the EU private sector does not invest in R&D (and innovation) at the same pace as its direct or emerging competitors. Therefore, there is a need to focus on the impact and composition of research spending and to improve the conditions for private sector R&D in the EU.

The importance of R&D and innovation in the European Commission priorities is demonstrated by a more integrated approach to R&D, innovation and industrial policies than was previously the case. An integrated approach by "Breaking the silos" has been embodied in the Commission priorities on Jobs, Growth and Investment and the Investment Plan since 2014. This reinforced approach was in "Political guidelines for the next European Commission 2019-2024" of the Commission's President von der Leyen.

The current relaunch of the EU industrial policy emphasizes the epochal transformation of industry, society and policies that should be dealt with up to 2030 and also beyond. Such transformations can be enabled by various aspects of innovation and include novel policies and instruments.

Sources of information include: data from statistical offices (national, Eurostat, OECD, EPO, etc.), companies' annual financial reports, surveys (own survey, access to CIS, and other surveys), experts opinions, published reports and scientific papers, commercial databases (e.g. Compustat, COR&DIP, FT-FDI, ORBIS)

The research methodologies are based on quantitative economic and financial analyses using statistics, econometrics, modelling, input-output matrices, data panels and complexity methods. We also use qualitative analysis using for example expert-panels.

Who we are