Research investment in Ireland more than double world average – EU

4 Dec 2014

Investment in R&D by companies based in Ireland is up 13.6pc, which is more than double the world average of 4.9pc and vastly ahead of the EU average of 2.6pc, according to the European Commission.

These figures refer to 17 companies based in Ireland included in the European Commission’s 2014 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, which analyses the top 2,500 companies worldwide, representing about 90pc of the total business R&D expenditure.

The scoreboard companies employed 48m people worldwide. EU-based companies have increased employment by 18.2pc, with higher R&D intensity sectors driving that growth.

In the EU, some 97pc of total R&D investment is concentrated in 10 countries, with Germany, France and the UK accounting for two-thirds of the total.

In Germany and the UK, companies’ investment continued to grow (5.9pc and 5.2pc respectively) above the average, while French companies saw a decrease in R&D investment (-3.4pc).

Declining investment in a few major EU companies particularly affected the R&D investment rate of their county. This was the case with Nokia (-17.1pc) or STMicroelectronics (-19.2pc), which had significant impact on the overall investment in Finland (-11.6pc) and the Netherlands (-0.1pc) respectively, two of the top 10 countries in Europe.

Meanwhile, Scoreboard companies based in some EU countries saw their R&D investment increase above the world average: Ireland (13.6pc) and Italy (6.4pc), and above the EU average: Spain (4.4pc).

Europe: destination R&D

Data show EU-based companies (633) invested €162.4bn in 2013, whereas US-based companies (804) invested €193.7bn, and the 387 Japanese companies invested €85.6bn.

“Despite the harsh economic climate, EU companies continue to invest in R&D,” Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said.

“That is good news, but more is needed to keep up with our competitors. With public resources limited, attracting private R&D investment is even more essential. Horizon 2020 is already engaging more businesses than ever before, but now we’re ready to step up our game.

“The €315bn investment plan presented by the Commission and European Investment Bank will help to raise more private investment for riskier projects, benefiting R&D across Europe.”

Science in Ireland image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years