EU private R&D investment grows in record year - but remains short of US and China

04 Jan 2024 | News byte


The EU’s biggest private spenders on research and development significantly increased their investment in 2022, but the overall amount remains far short of that invested by Chinese and US companies.

The latest EU Industrial Research & Development Investment Scoreboard, shows that investment in R&D by EU companies in the global top 2,500 increased by 13.6%, compared to 2021. In the US the increase was 12.7%; in China 16.5%. 

Taken overall, 2022 was a record year for private investment, with the top 2,500 companies pumping in €1,249.7 billion, €141 billion more than in 2021. 

The EU’s biggest private R&D spender and the only company in the top 10 is Volkswagen, which invested €18.9 billion. Alphabet, parent company of Google, was the largest private investor of all, putting €37 billion into R&D in 2022

The EU’s share of companies in the global top 2,500 R&D spenders has fallen over time, with a huge increase in the number of Chinese companies. “This shows the EU is less well placed to host new companies capable of becoming global leaders in R&D investment,” the scoreboard report says

“The emerging gap in R&D investment in the EU versus the US and China is a wake-up call to consider how the EU can compete in the future in the context of interdependencies and the EU policy on open strategic autonomy, technological sovereignty and economic security.”


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