Where the EU stands vis-à-vis the USA and China? Corporate R&D intensity gap and structural change

8 September 2022

Industrial innovation has always been key in the European Union (EU) to achieving competitive sustainability. Its role has become even more crucial in the context of COVID-19 recovery plans, the implementation of the twin green and digital transition, and the global sustainability agenda.1 Investments in research and development (R&D) by private sector companies drive industrial innovation. An analysis of differences in R&D intensity across world regions and their development over time is therefore of particular relevance. We examine the trends of the EU’s overall corporate R&D intensity relative to competing economies. Our findings reveal that the R&D intensity gap has changed over the last decade, and we explore to what extent the EU economy’s sectoral composition compared with that of its main competitors, the United States and China, has influenced this change. Our analysis covers 10 years (2012–2021) and is based on company data that is freely accessible on the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard website.