R&D investing companies by country

The 2017 Scoreboard comprises the 2500 companies investing the largest sums in R&D in the world in 2016. These companies, based in 43 countries, each invested over 24 million in R&D for a total of 741.6bn which is approximately 90% of the world's business-funded R&D.

Key figures by country

The 2500 companies raised their total R&D by a substantial 5.8% over the previous year, the sixth consecutive year of significant increases.
For the fifth consecutive year the net sales of the 2500 companies underperformed with respect to R&D with only 0.1% growth.
The number of employees by the 2500 companies increased modestly (+1.7%).

R&D investment


The 567 companies based in the EU invested 192.5bn in R&D, a substantial increase in this period (+7.0%) although at a slower pace than in the previous year (+8.1%).
For the EU sample, the largest contribution to R&D growth was made by Automobiles, ICT producers and Health industries.


R&D is very much concentrated by country and world region. The top 3, top 5 and top 10 countries account respectively for 63%, 75% and 90% of the total R&D investment.
The four largest R&D investing sectors (ICT producers, Health industries, Automobiles & other transport and ICT services) account for 75% of the total R&D of the 2500 companies.

R&D investment and net sales trends

Over the past 10 years, the R&D share of EU companies over the total R&D remained practically unchanged, about 26.0%. The main change in this indicator is observed for the Japanese companies whose R&D share fell by ca. 8 percentage points. The loss of R&D share by Japanese companies corresponds to increases in R&D shares for the other countries/regions, especially for companies based in China.

Volume of R&D investment

In the period 2007-2016, the world 1476 companies increased R&D by 50%, net sales by 17% and employment by 20%.

10 Years evolution by sector

On the whole, only two sectors increased their R&D shares: ICT services and Health industries. EU companies reinforced their specialisation in medium-high tech sectors, increasing significantly their R&D contribution to the global R&D of Automobiles and Industrial. On the other side, EU companies' main reduction of global R&D share was in Aerospace & Defence and in ICT producers.

EU Survey

The EU Survey on Industrial R&D Investment Trend  enquired companies on factors affecting the location of R&D activities. Labour costs for researchers do not seem to be an important factor of attractiveness. Instead, the factors that have the highest share of attractive and highly attractive are the quality and high availability of researchers and access to specialised R&D knowledge.