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What are the scores?

Leading UK firms spent almost £21billion on R&D during 2006 – a rise of 9% over 2005 – according to figures published by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.


The annual R&D Scoreboard, published in collaboration with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, also shows the 75 biggest UK based R&D investors increased their R&D spend by 12%. However, the figures may be skewed by the UK’s strength in the pharmaceuticals sector.
Science and Innovation Minister Ian Pearson said: “We want to see more R&D and innovation across the board. This year’s figures show that more and more British firms are taking innovation seriously. Developments in science and technology are opening up many more opportunities for companies to innovate and grow, and I hope that the R&D Scoreboard will continue to help inform their plans for the future.”
According to the Scoreboard, there is evidence that companies in some sectors are putting R&D investment before short term gains, with the UK’s aerospace and software firms putting more money into R&D than they reported as operating profit.
World R&D spending continues to be dominated by companies registered in five countries – the US, Japan, Germany, France and the UK – which represent 81% of the R&D undertaken by the top 1250 global firms.
R&D by the 207 companies in the G1250’s technology hardware and equipment sector grew by 13.2% over 2006 to $43.1bn. However, the UK850 listing tells a different story. The 61 companies in that listing invested $862m in 2006, an increase of just 1.3%.
Nevertheless, the UK list includes highlights, with good performances seen from ARM, CSR and Wolfson.
ARM invested more than £80m in R&D last year, a 5% increase over 2005. However, over the last four years, the company’s R&D spend has grown by 45%. CSR spent £56m, almost doubling the 2005 figure. Over the last four years, its spend has grown by 273%. And Wolfson has grown its R&D spend by 148% over the last four years, allocating £17m last year.

Author
Graham Pitcher

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