About IRI About IRI

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).

Meet the IRI Team.

What do we do?

The project aims at providing EU policy-makers and the business and academic communities with robust empirical evidence and analysis on the contribution of private-sector R&D to the growth and employment of the European economy.

This should lead to the elaboration of medium and long-term evidence-based policy options to support the development and implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy which considers investment in knowledge and innovation a main driver for achieving a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

This fits into one of the seven thematic areas of the new JRC Strategy 2010-2020: "Towards an open and competitive economy".

Policy context and the recent evidence

Attaining the target of investing 3% of GDP in R&D has been retained among the headlines targets to be reached in 2020.

Currently, R&D spending in Europe remains below 2% compared to 2.6% in US and 3.4% in Japan, mainly because the low levels of private investments. But reaching the 3% intensity target will not just be a matter of increasing the absolute amounts spent on R&D by companies in Europe.

As shown in the results of our recent analysis, half of the gap with the US results from Europe's smaller share of high-tech companies.

Based on this evidence, the Europe 2020 strategy recognises the 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 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 performance.

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).

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