ARLINGTON, VA - Innovation leaders from a broad cross-section of industries are anticipating a period of managed growth in 2013, according to the 29th Annual R&D Trends Forecast conducted by the Industrial Research Institute (IRI). Specifically, new business R&D projects are expected to remain a significant driver of investment, and the anticipation of increased alliances and partnerships on a global level suggests that industries are expecting varying degrees of R&D and business growth.
The survey, which was conducted in July and August of 2012, is based on feedback from R&D leaders from 114 medium to large corporations in various industries including chemicals, gases and advanced materials; food, tobacco and related products; industrial machinery, equipment and products; and consumer products, among others. Respondents were asked about their actual activity in the past year, their expected investment levels in the coming year, their plans for international dispersion of R&D facilities and their top concerns going into 2013.
“After reviewing this year’s R&D Trends Forecast, we’re optimistic that the new year will be one of continued and stable growth,” said Ed Bernstein, IRI President. “The expected increase in investments and hiring, coupled with a positive outlook on alliances and partnerships prove the R&D industry is moving in a positive direction.”
The survey reports that 89 percent of respondents indicated they expect R&D investment to either remain the same or increase, while 11 percent expect it to decrease. Investment in new business is anticipated to see the highest relative growth by R&D managers, with 29 percent of respondents expecting an investment increase and only 10 percent expecting a decrease. Support for existing businesses and directed basic research show the largest relative downturn, with 21 percent indicating an expected decrease in the latter.
The majority of respondents remain optimistic in their outlook on alliances, partnerships and collaboration agreements, most notably with regard to university research projects, grants and contracts.
Approximately 76 percent of respondents indicated that their organizations have R&D facilities located outside the United States, primarily in Western Europe and East and Southeast Asia, and for the first time, Scotland, New Zealand and Costa Rica appeared on the list. There were sharp decreases in the number of companies with labs in Italy, Spain, Sweden, Malaysia and Japan, and a noticeable increase in labs located in China, Australia, Belgium and Korea, closely following patterns with investment risk/return changes by country.
The report states that 89 percent of respondents are expecting moderate growth in professional hiring, while 87 percent also expect an increase or no change in new-graduate hiring, supporting the overall trend of stable, managed growth going into 2013.
The top concerns among R&D managers is “balancing long-term and short-term R&D objectives,” while “attracting, developing, and retaining talent” and “building and maintaining an innovation culture” followed close behind.
For the complete survey results and more information on IRI, visit www.iriweb.org.