R&D investing companies by country/region

The 2019 Scoreboard comprises the 2 500 companies investing the largest sums in R&D in the world in 2018. These companies, based in 46 countries, each invested over 30 million in R&D for a total of 823.4bn which is approximately 90% of the world's business-funded R&D.

Key figures by country/region

The 2 500 companies raised their total R&D by a substantial 8.9% over the previous year, the ninth consecutive year of significant increases.
Worldwide, net sales continued the positive trend shown in the past year, increasing at a similar rate than R&D investments.
The number of employees by the 2 500 companies keeps increasing steadily (+3.6%).

R&D investment


The 551 EU companies invested 208.3bn in R&D, an important increase in this period (4.7%) although at a slower pace than in the previous year.
For the EU, the largest contribution to industrial R&D expenditure was made by Automobiles, Health industries and ICT producers.
These sectors also made the largest contribution to R&D growth


R&D is very much concentrated by country and world region. The top 3, top 5 and top 10 countries account respectively for 63%, 77% and 92% 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 77% of the total R&D of the 2 500 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 30%. The main change in this indicator is observed for the Japanese companies whose R&D share fell by ca. 5 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 2009-2018, the world 1 399 companies increased R&D by 67%, net sales by 47% and employment by 21%.

10 Years evolution by sector

EU companies reinforced their specialisation in medium-high tech sectors, increasing significantly their R&D contribution to the global R&D of Automobiles & other transport. On the other side, EU companies reduced significantly their global R&D share in ICT industries. US companies strengthened their position in high tech sectors, increasing substantially their global R&D weight in ICT services and Health industries. On the other extreme, US companies reduced their R&D share in Automobiles & other transport.

EU Survey

The EU Survey on Industrial R&D Investment Trend enquired companies on the amount of investments in environmental sustainability (not limited to R&D investments). The average R&D intensity (R&D over net sales) of all participants to the survey is 3.5%; the environmental sustainability intensity (investment in environmental sustainability over net sales) is 1.0%. Responding companies in Health Industries and Industrials sectors invest the smallest proportion of net sales in environmental sustainability.