The 2022 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard

13 Dec 2022
Grassano, N., Hernandez Guevara, H., Fako, P., Nindl, E., Georgakaki, A., Ince, E., Napolitano, L., Rentocchini, F. and Tübke, A.

The main objective of the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard (the Scoreboard) is to benchmark the performance of EU innovation-driven industries against major global counterparts and to provide an R&D investment database that companies, investors and policymakers can use to compare individual company performances against the best global competitors in their sectors.

The 2022 edition of the Scoreboard analyses the 2500 companies that invested the largest sums in R&D worldwide in 2021. These companies, with headquarters in 41 countries, and more than 900k subsidiaries all over the world, each invested over EUR 48.5 million in R&D in 2021. The total investment across all 2500 companies was EUR 1093.9 billion - an amount equivalent to 86% of the world’s business-funded R&D and passing the trillion Euro mark for the first time.

The top 2500 includes 361 companies based in the EU, accounting for 17.6% of total R&D investment, 822 US companies (40.2%), 678 Chinese companies (17.9%), 233 Japanese companies (10.4%) and 406 from the rest of the world (RoW, 13.9% of R&D). The RoW group comprises companies from South Korea (53), Switzerland (55), UK (95), Taiwan (84) and companies based in a further 18 countries.

At the global level, the Scoreboard shows the deepening of the global tech race in the four key sectors which account for more than three-quarters of the total Scoreboard R&D: ICT producers (22.6%), health industries (21.5%), ICT services (19.8%) and automotive (13.9%). R&D growth in the four key sectors was higher for US and Chinese than for EU Scoreboard companies.

The extended sample of 1000 EU companies contains a substantial number of small- and medium-sized enterprises in health and ICT sectors with encouraging trends in 2021. This good base is an excellent enabler of the New European Innovation Agenda, which inter alia addresses firm creation and growth in emerging technologies and triggering spillovers between sectors.

This report analyses companies' R&D, patents and other financial performance indicators over recent years, focusing on the comparative performance of EU companies and their global counterparts. A patent-based positioning of companies in green technologies (low-carbon technologies in energy-intensive industries and circular economy technologies) shows that EU and US Scoreboard companies lead in high-value patents, and the EU also leads in inventions relevant to circularity.

Moreover, the present Scoreboard also analyses firm-level scores summarizing company performance in relevant UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). EU-based Scoreboard companies achieved the highest scores in most SDGs and showed progression across the board. From a sectoral perspective, Scoreboard companies operating in the automotive and chemical sectors achieved on average high SDG progression.

The results of this report reveal challenges and opportunities for the EU as it seeks to improve its technology capabilities and reinvigorate its industrial base in the context of increasing global competition pressure and ongoing green and digital transformations.


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