Understanding the R&D Ecosystem

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It has always been a fundamental part of our philosophy that you cannot dissociate nanotechnology from the rest of the global research and development ecosystem, and that the adoption (or otherwise) of nanotechnologies are less dependent on the technologies themselves than other economic and social factors.

With this in mind, we have spent a lot of time looking at the wider trends in R&D, in order to quantify what areas may either be impacted by nanotechnologies or offer opportunities for equipment suppliers, and the first report in this series was released today.

It should be emphasised that this is not a report on nanotechnology R&D, but the entire global R&D landscape. Maps are only useful if you know where you are starting from, and this provides a baseline based on the analysis of the worlds 100 largest R&D spenders, and of state owned Chinese companies who are showing dramtic growth.

Perhaps more importantly from a business viewpoint it shows exactly who is spending money, in what industries and how fast this is growing. We have also provided the full data set as an excel spreadsheet so that clients can crunch the numbers according to their own internal methodologies.

The numbers themselves tell and interesting story:

The world’s top 100 spenders have together invested over $250 billion in 2004, with the pharmaceutical and automotive sectors accounting for almost 50%.

US companies account for over 40% of all R&D spending, although the fastest growth rates are to be found in the Asia/Pacific region with growth rates in Korea and China up to fifteen times higher than that of the US and Europe.

Overall, only two out of the fifteen industry sectors studied showed a decline, while companies ranging from software to food have all shown significant increases in spending.

Despite a global decline in R&D intensity (i.e. corporate R&D spend as a proportion of sales) European companies have now edged ahead of those in the United States, with the United Kingdom leading the pack.

The report is available over at our main website, and more details can be found here.

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