Companies bear the costs of R&D in France in 2006 and 2007

Fabrice Martin

According to figures recently published by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, research expenditure as well as researcher recruitment has risen in 2006 and 2007. France’s “effort has remained constant," mainly though corporate investment.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Research has published a memo on research and development expenditure in 2006 as well as estimates for 2007.

Domestic expenditure for research and development (DIRD) has risen constantly by 1% per year since 2004. It was 37.9 billion euros in 2006 and is estimated at 39.4 billion euros in 2007.
France has maintained its research effort, as measured by the percentage of researchers in the working population (7.6‰) and by the proportion of GNP devoted to research, placing it behind Japan, the United States and Germany, which had widened the gap, but comes in front of the United Kingdom.

This effort is maintained primarily by companies, which bear two-thirds of the DIRD. It should be noted that research activity in the private sector remains concentrated in large corporations and in a few industrial sectors: automobile, pharmaceuticals, communication infrastructure and aeronautics.

Researcher recruitment is on the rise in the public sector and even more in the private sector. Companies indeed are the main recruiters of researchers, whereas research support staff is on the decline. In the public sector, recruitment has risen by 4.2% yearly in public scientific and technological institutions.