National Information Centre for European Research


Horizon Europe Programme in a World and European Context II.




Based on the 2022 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, a June 26, 2023 post reported, that for Europe's largest corporations, contributions from the EU's research and innovation Framework Programmes represent only a fraction of their R&D budgets, and presented a list of industrial corporations with the highest expenditures on research and development in 2021.

The aim of this post is to follow up and present the industrial corporations that have placed in this ranking with the highest net sales in 2021, i.e. sales excluding sales taxes and transactions between subsidiaries within the corporation. The eight listed corporations had annual net sales higher than the Czech Republic’s 2021 GDP. Four of these industrial corporations – Apple, Volkswagen, Toyota Motor, China State Construction Engineering – had annual research and development expenditures higher than the Czech Republic. This means that their R&D spending in 2021 exceeded €5 billion (marked in light orange in the attached table), while in the case of Apple and Volkswagen it exceeded €9.1 billion (i.e. the amount of the net EU contribution, which is claimed by participants in the calls of the Horizon Europe programme with a deadline for submission of proposals in 2021) (marked in dark orange in the attached table).

If we focus on industrial corporations whose annual net sales exceed €100 billion and are lower than €240 billion – i.e. correspond to the annual GDP of Hungary or Slovakia  we can identify 5 corporations with annual research and development expenditures in 2021 higher than the above-mentioned €9.1 billion. Three of these corporations are based in the USA and focus on information technology (Alphabet, Microsoft, Meta), one each in the Republic of Korea (Samsung) and China (Huawei). Another 7 industrial corporations in this net sales category had annual R&D expenditures higher than €5 billion. This includes three automotive corporations from Europe (Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Stellantis), two from the USA (General Motors, Ford Motor) and one from Japan (Honda Motor).



Summary: Among the 35 largest industrial corporations (measured by net sales), we can identify 7 corporations whose annual R&D expenditure in 2021 was higher than the net EU contribution claimed by participants in Horizon Europe calls with a deadline of 2021. Another 10 corporations spent more on research and development in 2021 than the entire Czech Republic.


Author: Vladimír Vojtěch, TC Prague,, 11.09.2023


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