The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills has published a report into how much global companies invested in research and development spending in 2006.
Increasingly linked with design output, R&D can now be used by blue chip design operations in the UK to reclaim tax. Nissan became the first design operation to successfully apply for R&D tax credits last summer (6 August 2006).
According to DIUS, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline topped the R&D Scoreboard, with the entire sector spending £47.4bn globally on R&D in 2006. GlaxoSmithKline is the only UK company among the 25 largest investors in R&D globally.
Technology companies Intel, Nokia, Motorola followed close behind, while Microsoft was the highest R&D spender in the software and computer services sector, spending £3.6bn last year. However, this sector has scaled back its investment in R&D by 6.5 per cent over the past four years.
Toyota and Samsung were the biggest R&D spenders among non-US and non-European companies, investing £3.5bn and £3.1bn respectively last year.
The study draws no direct link between R&D spend and business performance. However, UK companies investing a high percentage of sales in R&D tend to record higher stock market ratings, it says.