The UK Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills released its 2007 R&D Scorecard today. The report, which is available here, focuses on UK firms, though it also includes a substantial analysis of the largest firms, at a global scale, that invest in R&D.
The global highlights include:
- Global R&D spending by the G1250 rose by 10% to £244 billion. It continues to be dominated by companies registered in just five countries – the USA, Japan, Germany, France and the UK – which contributed 81% of R&D by the G1250. Firms from India and China have yet to establish themselves as significant players in the G1250, although other evidence suggests that both countries are increasingly important locations for R&D. Globally, average R&D intensity remains unchanged at 3.5% of sales.
- R&D investment in the global pharmaceuticals sector grew by 16% in the last year; it has replaced technology hardware (which grew by 13%) as the largest global R&D sector. Other rapidly growing sectors amongst the ten largest investors were the software and aerospace & defence sectors which both grew at more than 12%.
- There are well-established links between R&D growth and intensity and sales growth, wealth creation efficiency and market value. Alongside excellent operations and strategic decision-making, companies continue to regard investment in R&D as a key factor determining future success: the Scoreboard shows this especially strongly in the UK’s aerospace, software and technology firms.
The Financial Times has created an informative interactive map of the report’s findings, with one screen capture (highlighting France in this instance) pasted here:
New types of geovisualization techniques are being developed by a number of media outlets (the FT, the New York Times), and academics (especially my colleague Mark Harrower), and the time is right for them to be more frequently (and better) used in our teaching and research practices given the nature of our visual culture.