Table 3 summarises significant changes in R&D and other measures of business performance among the UK1000 (the UK’s 1,000 largest corporate spenders on R&D in 2009) over the last year. Key points are:
- R&D investment by the UK1000 decreased by 0.6% over the last year;
- the fastest-growing of the key sectors were automobiles and parts, which increased its spending by over 9%, and software and computer services, which increased its spending by 8.6%;
- the sector with the biggest decline in R&D spending was fixedline telecommunications, which decreased its spending by 8%, followed by the oil and gas producing and banking sectors, both of which decreased their spending by around 7%;
- pharmaceuticals and biotechnology companies account for more than 35% of all R&D investment in the UK1000;
- three of the four biggest sectors (pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, software and computer services, and automobiles and parts) grew their R&D investment, while the aerospace and defence sector decreased its investment;
- six of the ten biggest sectors by R&D investment reported operating losses in 2009; the automobiles and parts and technology hardware and equipment sectors reported the biggest losses;
- compared to last year’s Scoreboard, companies in the biggest sectors invested broadly similar amounts of R&D as a percentage of their capital expenditure.
Table 4 summarises significant changes in R&D and other measures of business performance among the UK1000’s fastestgrowing sectors by R&D in 2009. Measured in absolute terms, these sectors invested significantly less in R&D than the UK’s leading sectors, listed above. The top four gas, water and multiutilities companies each grew their R&D investment, although the significant growth in this sector can be attributed in large part to the biggest company by R&D spend, Centrica.
R&D growth among non-life-insurance companies was driven primarily by RSA Insurance, the largest company in this sector. In a continuation of last year’s Scoreboard, the travel and leisure and oil equipment, services and distribution sectors remained in the list of fastest-growing sectors. McLaren and Thomas Cook grew their R&D investment the fastest among travel and leisure companies, while Baker Hughes was the top performer among oil equipment, services and distribution companies.
R&D as a percentage of capital expenditure was significantly smaller across four of the five fastest-growing sectors than across the three leading sectors–pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, aerospace and defence and software and computer services– according to absolute investment in R&D. At 200% of R&D as a percentage of capital expenditure, only the non-life-insurance sector approached similar levels.