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EU industrial research spending grew by 6 per cent in 2010

Europe’s top 400 industrial research spenders increased their research investment by 6.1 per cent in 2010 over the previous year, according to the European Commission.

Worldwide industrial R&D spending increased by 4 per cent on average in 2010, after a 1.9 per cent drop due to the recession in 2009, according to the Commission’s EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard.

The 400 EU companies in the ranking invested a combined €132 billion in R&D in 2010. This is an increase of 6.1 per cent over 2009.

The scoreboard annually ranks the world’s top 1,400 companies by their R&D investment in 2010. The latest edition released by the Commission on 18 October.

Volkswagen (6th place, €6.3 billion) is the biggest EU investor in R&D, followed by Nokia (11th with €4.9bn), Daimler (13th with €4.8bn) and Sanofi-Aventis (14th with €4.4bn).

Speaking to the press in Brussels on 18 October, research commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “There are 15 EU companies in the top 50, but only one in the top 10: Volkswagen, in 6th place. So we’re doing well, but we risk losing our foothold right at the very top and EU companies are actually slipping down the rankings.”

The Commission stated that pharmaceutical companies continued to increase their presence in the top places, as observed in previous scoreboards. Roche from Switzerland is in first place, followed by US company Pfizer.

Three US pharmaceutical companies showed especially strong R&D growth in 2010: Merck (47 per cent), Abbott (35.7 per cent) and Pfizer (21.4 per cent). But French company Sanofi-Aventis, the biggest EU player in the field, has dropped out of the top ten ranks this year.

The Scoreboard also highlights high growth in R&D investment in ICT companies such as LG, Oracle, Google and Samsung.

The R&D scoreboard is published every year in October by the Commission’s research directorate. It measures the total value of companies’ global R&D investment, no matter where the research takes place.