Ireland has been named as one of the top 10 EU countries for industrial R&D investment, with 14 of the top-spending companies for R&D based in the country, according to the findings of the European Commission’s 2012 R&D Investment Scoreboard published today.
The findings of the scoreboard have been based on a sample of 1,500 companies, the world’s top investors in R&D. The Commission said this equates to almost 90pc of the total expenditure on R&D by businesses worldwide.
Out of the 1,500 companies, 405 are based in the EU, 503 in the US, 296 in Japan and 296 in the rest of the world.
Following the Commission’s analysis, Ireland has managed to make it into the top 10 EU countries in terms of industrial R&D investment, as part of a list of the top 1,000 EU companies by R&D investment, with 14 of the top-spending companies for R&D based in the country.
Some of the key findings are that companies based in Ireland increased their R&D investments by 13.3pc in 2011, compared with 2010. This figure is above the EU average at 11.2pc. Other countries that also experienced R&D investments above the EU average in 2011 include Sweden (14.8pc) and Spain (14.7pc).
Three companies based in Ireland were responsible for 68pc of the country’s R&D investment. These companies were Seagate Technology, at 15pc; Covidien at 23.9pc; and Accenture at 31.2pc.
R&D trends of companies based in the top 10 EU Member States (based on the sample of 1,000 companies)
Source: European Commission
Other findings from the scoreboard were that major EU-based firms continued to rely on R&D for their competitive edge, increasing their R&D investment by 8.9pc in 2011, up from 6.1pc in 2010.
The global top 50 R&D investors in the scoreboard include 15 EU companies, 18 US companies and 12 from Japan. Japanese car manufacturer Toyota topped the overall ranking, with Volkswagen the top EU company, having invested €7.2bn in R&D activity.
Of the total investment by companies in the scoreboard, the US came in ahead of the EU at €178.4bn in comparison to €144.6bn.
In the EU, R&D growth figures in 2011 were driven to a large extent by the automobile sector.
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said the increase in R&D investment by EU companies is a "call to arms" in the battle for growth and jobs.
"We now need to match private-sector ambition with increased investment in R&D at national and European levels. EU leaders should send a strong signal by approving an ambitious budget for Horizon 2020, our future programme for research and innovation," she said.
The Commission has proposed that Horizon 2020, which will run from 2014 to 2020, will have a budge of €80bn, up from the €55bn budget of the current Framework programme FP7.
Yesterday, the Government announced in its Budget 2013 measures the doubling of the R&D Tax Credit regime. The move will see a doubling of the amount of expenditure that qualifies for the R&D tax credit for SMEs from €100,000 to €200,000.