R&D investments worldwide, 2016-2018

The Industries & Strategies database, created and distributed by Trendeo, tracks, since 2016, every industrial investment (manufacturing, energy, logistics, R&D) announced worldwide (over 30 MUSD or 50 jobs). Each information is classified by product, sector, company, country, even a qualitative score (factories of the future score). Since january 2016, 8 973 investments have been tracked, among them 418 for R&D projects (4,7%). As the database is updated weekly, our users benefit from a more detailed information, including cancelled investments, factories of the future score details, capacity…

In the database, each information is described precisely across 30 quantitative and qualitative fields. The tables below synthetize the available data alongside different criteria.

R&D among other activities

Each project in our Industries & Strategies database is classified by sector but also alongside the type of activities performed. We have defined nine type of activities, including R&D. The table below show that R&D makes almost 5% of projects, but due to an average amount per project lower than global average, represents only 1% of amounts invested.

Number of projects, jobs and investment, by type of activities, 2016-2018

Geographical repartition of R&D investments

R&D is much concentrated than overall investment: the top 20 countries, in terms of amount invested, gather almost 99% of R&D, whereas for all activities, the top 20 countries collect only 80% of amounts invested.

The United Kingdom comes first by amount invested, mainly due to a huge investment by Dyson in Malmesbury, in the electric car sector (2 500 M$, announced in 2016). India would come first by number of projects, one project ahead of the United States: both countries get a lot of R&D projects with comparatively smaller average amount invested per project. Asian countries represent 57% of investments, Europe (including Turkey and Israel) collect 30% and Americas slightly less than 13%.

R&D investments by country, 2016-2018, tracked by Trendeo,
by number of projects, jobs created, and amounts invested.


Among the 25 top regions (out of 160 regions in which R&D investments have been tracked),.4 countries are present with several regions: India, China, the United States and Germany. Karnataka (mainly Bangalore), is the first region by number of projects. By amount invested, Chinese regions would have obtained the top three ranks (England would be first but we will adopt soon another definition for the British regions, which will change this situation). California is the first North-American region, followed by Ontario. Île-de-France is the first region for continental Europe.

R&D investments by region, 2016-2018, tracked by Trendeo,
by number of projects, jobs created and amounts invested.


By city and by number of projects, three Indian cities come ahead of our rankings. By amount invested, Hsinchu (Taiwan), would be first, with just one R&D project on semiconductors by TSMC. Munich is ahead of Paris, although Île-de-France is stronger than Bavaria, because of Saclay. Singapore and Tel Aviv occupy positions five and six, and Toronto is the first north-american city, just before Durham (North-Carolina), in the Research Triangle.

Top cities by number of R&D projects received,
jobs and investment amount received, 2016-2018

Foreign Direct Investment and R&D

Of the 418 projects, 230 (55%) are Foreign Direct Investment projects. The table below show that this share varies among countries, from 100% of foreign projects (Mexico, Italy, Romania) to no foreign R&D projects (Turkey, Sweden).

R&D sorted by FDI and domestic, 2016-2018, tracked by Trendeo.

R&D Investment by company

Out of the 300 companies that invested in R&D from 2016 to 2018, the ranking by number of projects are very different from the ranking by amount invested (only Samsung and GE are in both top 15 rankings). By amount invested, electronics, automotive and pharmaceuticals companies take all the top spots. Two public investments are to be noticed there, both in Europe.

Top 15 companies by number of R&D projects announced (left) and by amount invested (right).

R&D sectors

The automotive industry is the first sector by number of projects with almost 20% of R&D projects tracked. Electronics is first by amount invested.

R&D investments by sector, 2016-2018, in number of projects, jobs and amount invested.
Last column: average amount invested by project.

At a finer level, artificial intelligence takes third place, with 5% of projects, computer programming adding another 4% to the list of digital activities. Other fields are mixing traditional activities and computer programming, such as autonomous vehicle. There is a digital and computer part for many traditional sectors.

R&D investments by product, 2016-2018, in number of projects and amount invested.
Last column: average amount invested by project.

Top projects

The following table lists the ten biggest investments announced since january 2016 (we recorded in our database some projects that had been announced before but were discussed again since January 2016). Those ten investments represent 53% of the total amount invested through the 418 projects tracked by Trendeo.

Qualitative scores

Our factories of the future score aggregates six components defined with our partners (Fives, EDF (Electricité de France) and the Institut de la réindustrialisation):

  • Flexibility: the ability to switch from a product to another, enabling made-to-order manufacturing,
  • Digitalization: the introduction of technologies such as IoT, robotics, automation,
  • Energy efficiency: every measure taken to lower energy consumption compared with usual norms,
  • Social efforts: measures undertaken for operations, through working conditions, health and safety concern, training, education and wages…,
  • Territorial efforts: decisions aiming at improving the relations between a production site and local communities and stakeholders, such as favoring local suppliers, funding schools, contributing to local social projects…,
  • Environmental efforts: reducing carbon footprint and pollution, water preservation…

Each criterion is ranked 0 (no mention in the news describing the investment), 1 (some measures described) or 2 (quantitative objectives defined for the criterion considered or insistence on it). Adding those 0-2 scores over six criteria gives a total Industry of the Future score which varies from 0 to 12.

There are, listed in the following table, 9 projects with a score of 6 or more. The average score of an R&D investment is 0,89, lower than the average global score (1,03). In fact R&D projects have lower scores for their energy efficiency measures (but they probably are less energy intensive projects) and for their environmental efforts (but they also are probably less pollutant emiting than, say, manufacturing projects). The only criteria where R&D projects have higher than average scores are social efforts and digitization.

Detailed Sample

Each operation is described on a dedicated page in the database, including information such as production capacity.


This document is a short synthesis of the data available in the Industries & Strategies database about R&D investments. You can learn much more about this database by contacting Trendeo:

contact@trendeo.net / +33(0)1 42 79 51 26 or david.cousquer@trendeo.net


The Industries & Strategies database has been made possible by our sponsors: Fives, the Institut de la Réindustrialisation, EDF and Defi&Co (Programme d’investissement d’avenir (PIA), managed by Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations).

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