France is the third OECD country for the value of venture capital investments (1 922 million USD in 2008), after the United States (17 312) and the United Kingdom (4 559).
R&D intensity (2.1% of GDP) is above the OECD average (1.9%) but below the G7 average (2.2%). Government support to business R&D remains high: government financing of business R&D (11%) is the highest among G7 countries and R&D tax subsidy rates are the highest in the OECD area, both for large and small and medium size firms.
France is the only OECD country where government R&D budget decreased in real terms (around -4%) in the last decade. In 2008 defense accounted for 30% of the government R&D, the second largest share in the OECD after the United States.
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Targeting New Growth Areas
Patents per capita in France (39 per million inhabitants) are above the OECD average (33) but below the G7 average (48).
France’s technological specialization in environmental, medical and nanotechnology appear in line with the OECD. Specialization in biotechnology seems stronger than in the OECD area: in 2006, France ranked second for biotechnology R&D expenditures after the Unites States, although US biotechnology R&D were 10 times higher.
Over 90% of French businesses had a broadband connection in 2008 while the OECD average is 83%.
Competing in the World Economy
In 2007 France’s manufacturing trade balance registered a surplus in both high and medium-high technology while the trade balance was negative in most OECD countries. The ICT trade balance, however, registered a deficit larger than the OECD average.
Compared to the OECD, French firms do little use of e-commerce, both for selling (13%) and purchasing (18%). The number of new trademarks per capita - an indicator of new products and new marketing methods - was also lower (45 per million inhabitants) than the OECD average (62).
Over 1998-2008, the rate of labour productivity growth in France (1.7%) was below the OECD average (2.2%).
Connecting to Global Research
The degree of international cooperation in innovation in France seems in line with the OECD area. International co-patenting – two or more inventors from different countries - and cross-border patents – the “owner” and the inventor from different countries – are close to the OECD average. The same is true for the share of R&D funds from abroad.
France hosts the third largest foreign doctoral population (28 000), after the United States (92 000) and the United Kingdom (38 000).
Investing in the Knowledge Economy
The share of new doctoral graduates in science and engineering in France (59% in 2006) is well above the OECD average (42%). The same is true for new university graduates in science and technology: 26% against an OECD average of 22%.
France has the second highest unemployment rates among university graduates (about 5%) in OECD countries, after Poland and Turkey (both 5.4%).
In France, a worker with a bachelor degree and above earns 1.8 times more than a worker with primary education and below. This is lower than the average wage premium from tertiary education among G7 (2.1) and OECD countries (2.0).
OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2007