The 2023 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard

14 Dec 2023
Nindl, E., Confraria, H., Rentocchini, F., Napolitano, L., Georgakaki, A., Ince, E., Fako, P., Hernández Guevara, H., Gavigan, J., Tübke, A., Pinero-Mira, P., Rueda-Cantuche, J.M., Banacloche-Sánchez, S., de Prato, G., and Calza, E

The EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard monitors and benchmarks the performance of the EU’s leading industrial R&D investors against their peers globally. Over 20 years since its first edition, the Scoreboard has been a reliable source of key insights for companies, researchers and policy-makers.

The 2023 Scoreboard lists and analyses both the world’s top 2 500 companies and the top 1 000 EU-based companies with the highest R&D investment in 2022. The top 2 500 have headquarters in 42 countries and over 1 million subsidiaries worldwide, with each company investing over EUR 53 million in R&D in 2022. Notably, the top 50 companies accounted for 40% of the total 2 500 R&D investment (EUR 1249.4 billion), showcasing a concentration of resources as has been consistent over the years.

Despite economic uncertainties, EU companies demonstrated robust growth in R&D investments, outperforming the US for the first time since 2015. EU-based companies constituted 17.5% of the R&D total, with Germany, France, and the Netherlands hosting the majority of large EU R&D investors. Brexit reshaped the EU 1 000 sample, whereby places vacated by UK firms were mostly filled by firms from Germany, Sweden, and France. We did not find indications of Brexit-induced headquarter relocations in the Scoreboard sample.

The Scoreboard's 20-year analysis revealed shifts in sectoral contributions. While EU strongholds such as industrials and automotive have witnessed declining R&D shares, ICT services and ICT producers led by the US gained significant ground. China is in second place in ICT and health sectors with an increasing number of newcomers entering the top 2 500.

The Scoreboard's resilience analysis during economic crises highlighted the importance of R&D investments, contributing to accelerated sales, productivity growth, and environmental sustainability. Notably, recoveries post-financial and COVID-19 crises were quicker for US firms, led by strengths in ICT software, hardware, and health sectors.

Beyond monitoring, the 2023 edition combines Scoreboard metrics with various analyses. Patent analysis focuses on green and clean transport technologies, the automotive industry is examined in a global value chain framework, and patents in advanced materials uncover deep tech potential of the Scoreboard companies. Additionally, a techno-economic ecosystem analysis explores the role of Scoreboard companies in artificial intelligence.

The Scoreboard emphasises open data practices, making its database publicly available for stakeholders to conduct their benchmarking and monitoring exercises.


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