The report published annually by DG Research and Innovation and the European Joint Research Centre features an analysis of top investors in R&D on a global scale. Other companies ranked in the top-10 this year includes five based in the US, two in Switzerland and one in Japan from the health and auto sectors.
According to the JRC, the report measures the total value of a company's global R&D investment financed with their own funds, irrespective of the location where the relevant R&D takes place.
Companies included invested more than €22.6 million in R&D in 2012 and are based in the EU (527), the US (658), Japan (353) and other countries (462) including China, South Korea, Switzerland, India, Canada, Australia, Israel, Norway and Brazil.
US companies found to be leading the way
"The analysis of trends over the last 10 years shows that the US continues to increase its specialisation in R&D intensive sectors (70% share of the total R&D investments made by US Scoreboard companies in 2012 vs 64 % in 2004)," the most recent findings reveal.
Despite the strong US lead in these highly R&D intensive sectors, a closer look at the report reveals lower ranks of the EU companies as showing a significant number of good performers, however, like last year they lagged behind their US counterparts (+8.2%).
"EU companies also showed a mixed performance depending on the sector, with strong R&D growth in some but stagnation or decline elsewhere," it states.
EU to catch up with US R&D efforts..
EU Scoreboard companies surveyed expect to increase their R&D investments by 2.6% on average per year for the period 2013-2015, a fall in expectations over the previous year.
According to Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science; "The EU still lags behind its main competitors in business investment in R&D, and there are some worrying signs in these latest reports. Despite the positive results of top EU companies in important industrial sectors such as automobiles, we are still too weak in high tech sectors such as biotechnology and software."
The 6.2% increase on average in R&D growth of the Scoreboard companies came despite a slowdown of net sales growth (+4.2% vs +9.9% in 2011) and a 10.1% decline in operating profits in 2012.
The EU's overall positive results were largely driven by the R&D growth rates of German companies, particularly in the automobile sector.