Direction de la Science, de la technologie et de l'innovation



Business R&D structure and dynamics and the impact of public support for business R&D

The OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation is working on a project that applies a “distributed” approach to the empirical analysis of business R&D micro-data. The microBeRD project investigates the structure, distribution and concentration of business R&D and sources of R&D funding across countries and models the incidence and impact of public support for business R&D. This approach, based on the collaboration with national experts with access to confidential R&D and public support micro-data, facilitates a co-ordinated statistical analysis of the impact of R&D tax relief design features, as well as their interaction with direct forms of public R&D funding, by exploiting the variation in government support within and across countries. 



While it is broadly acknowledged that R&D is a highly concentrated activity, there is only limited internationally comparable evidence available on the degree of R&D concentration within OECD countries. microBeRD seeks to help close this evidence gap. The results from the latest microBeRD analysis of R&D performance across a number of OECD countries at the enterprise level highlight, for example, that the 50 largest domestic R&D performers account for 40% of BERD in Canada and the United States, 55% in Germany and Japan, and 70% in Denmark and New Zealand.


Concentration of business R&D: top 50 and top 100 performers, 2014

As a percentage of domestic business R&D expenditure or total count of performers



 Source: OECD, based on preliminary results from the OECD microBeRD project,, July 2017.


The OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2017 provides additional microdata based indicators on the distribution and structure of business R&D.



The project relies on a distributed microdata methodology, in a similar fashion to OECD MultiProd and DynEmp projects. A software is sent to countries, and affiliated researchers in each country run the code on their confidential microdata. This approach allows firm-level-based analysis while respecting confidentiality rules. It also ensures a high level of harmonisation, which allows comparability of results across countries. 

The microdata distributed analysis relies on survey-based business R&D performance at this stage and will be extended to R&D tax relief micro data, where available and accessible for analytical purposes, among other relevant microdata sources (e.g. R&D grant, business innovation data) that may feed into the distributed analysis at a later stage.



MicroBeRD is a joint project of the OECD Committee on Industry, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) and the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP) through its Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (NESTI). The project capitalises on NESTI's expertise in producing aggregate R&D and R&D government support indicators and experience of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation in carrying out international, distributed microdata projects.








Community space: microBeRD project network



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