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EU Science Hub

Industrial research and innovation

The economic and policy analysis of patterns and trends in industrial R&D and innovation are the focuses of JRC research in this area.

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Compared to main competitors, Europe underinvests in its knowledge foundations, with a major gap in business Research and Development (R&D), and a progressive decline of the manufacturing sector’s share of value added and employment, which accounts for most private R&D expenditure, stimulates local innovation systems and enables participation in Global Innovation Networks.

The landscape for policies has become more complex in the past two decades having to address:

  • investment and productivity gaps,
  • the productivity puzzle of advanced economies,
  • innovation diffusion issues,
  • the impact of General Purpose Technologies (e.g. ICT and AI) and Emerging Technologies (e.g. KETs),
  • the increased speed of technological and organisational change,
  • challenges linked to the increasing economic globalisation and
  • the need to contribute to the management of profound socio-economic transitions (e.g. digitalisation, neutral carbon economy and circular economy), coupled with Europe’s key challenge to deliver the next great transition of our economy, society, and planet.

The work of the JRC in this field focuses on the economic and policy analysis of patterns and trends in industrial R&D and innovation and their contribution to the competitive position of industry.

Sources of information include: data from statistical offices, companies' annual financial reports, surveys, expert opinions, published reports and scientific papers, and commercial databases. The research methodologies are based on quantitative economic and financial analyses using statistics, econometrics, modelling, input-output matrices, data panels and non-traditional approaches such as the analysis of complex systems. When necessary, qualitative analysis and expert advicea are also used.

Based on company data extracted directly from latest available company accounts, the Scoreboard provides a reliable, up-to-date benchmarking tool for comparisons between companies, sectors, and geographical areas, as well as to monitor and analyse emerging investment trends and patterns. It also aims to raise public awareness and support for R&D investment among individual companies and policy makers, and encourages companies to disclose information about their R&D investments.

The EU surveys on R&D Investment Business Trends

From 2006 the Scoreboard is complemented by an annual survey on R&D Investment Business Trends. It is carried-out on the sample of European based Scoreboard companies. It provides a forward-looking perspective on companies' R&D investment expectations for the coming years as well as insights on important issues such as location strategies, participation in Global Innovation Networks, technological characterisation, and perception of current drivers and barriers and of the effectiveness of policy support measures.

Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation and Policy Briefs

Mainly addressed to policy analysts and the academic community, the Working Papers are scientific papers and early-stage scientific publications. They shed light on economic and policy questions related to industrial research and innovation and their contribution to the European competitiveness. Working Papers are complemented by Policy Briefs that aim at presenting the results of scientific work to a policy audience, to promote exchange and discussion that ultimately would lead to a reinforced evidence-based policy support. Technical Reports are more technical publications in nature, Collaborations showcase the results of work undertaken by external experts and contractors, and Scientific Articles reveal our impact in the scientific community.

CONCORD: Corporate R&D conferences

CONCORD conferences provide a platform for discussion on how research can support evidence-based policy making in the area of private R&D and innovation investments. The JRC also undertakes various activities to validate and disseminate the research results among policy makers and other interested stakeholders (including industrial representatives and experts) and to discuss its policy implications and follow-up. This includes the organisation of thematic workshops where the results of the research (presented in a "non-academic" format, such as policy briefs) are contrasted.


Related Content

Industrial Research and Innovation website

Infographic: EU R&D Scoreboard 2021

To find out more about the JRC's work on similar topics, explore the related JRC portfolios: