Cover of higher education & research in France, facts and figures

📄 Sources:MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Insee
Bureau Van Dijk, DIANE
Banque de France.

 Coverage:Whole of France.

Prior to 2008, the term 'enterprise' had a legal definition – a natural person or company that produces goods or services with the aim of selling them. Decree No. 2008-1354 on the Modernisation of the Economy (Loi de modernisation de l’économie – LME) of December 2008 defines an 'enterprise' as 'the smallest combination of legal units that is an organisational unit producing goods or services, which benefits from a certain degree of autonomy in decision-making' (Council Regulation (EEC) No. 696/93 of 15 March 1993).

Since 2008, an 'enterprise' has therefore been defined on the basis of economic, rather than legal, criteria.

The decree establishes four categories of enterprises:

Micro-enterprises (MIC) employ fewer than 10 people and have an annual turnover or balance sheet total of no more than €2 million. Micro-enterprises fall under the category of SMEs.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) employ fewer than 250 people and have a turnover of no more than €50 million or a balance sheet total of no more than €43 million. Micro-enterprises fall under the category of SMEs.

Intermediate-sized enterprises are companies that do not fall under the SME category, employ fewer than 5,000 people and have a turnover of no more than €1,500 million or a balance sheet total of no more than €2,000 million.

Large enterprises are companies that do not fall under any of the previous categories.

Only legal units located in France have been included in this analysis. Consequently, in the case of multinational companies, only units based within French territory are taken into account when analysing their R&D activities and determining which category of enterprise they fall under. Manufacturing industries are categorised according to their technology intensity using a typology of activities set out in the second version of the French classification of activities (Nomenclature d'activités française – NAF).

Four subsets are defined (OECD and Eurostat): high-technology, medium high-technology, medium low-technology and low-technology.

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28 research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises

In 2014, SMEs (including micro-firms) represented 17% of intramural business enterprise R&D expenditure (BERD), over half of which was invested in the service sector. Large enterprises, which accounted for 58% of BERD, focused three quarters of their R&D efforts in the high and medium-high technology industries.

Total intramural expenditure on R&D (BERD) of enterprises with establishments in France amounted to €31.1 billion in 2014 (table 28.01). Large companies were responsible for the majority of this expenditure (57%), while intermediate-sized enterprises (entreprises de taille intermédiaire – ETI) accounted for one quarter. SMEs (including micro-enterprises (MICs)) that are active in R&D, are the category of company that devotes the largest share of its turnover to R&D (7% versus 3% For all R&D companies). In comparison with their intramural expenditure on R&D, SMEs offered more jobs in this area: they accounted for 17% of BERD, with 24% of R&D personnel.

In 2014, R&D accounted for 248,050 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in businesses, 66% of which were R&D research or engineering positions. The proportion of researchers and engineers in businesses' R&D workforces was slightly higher in all SMEs (67%) than in intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises (63% and 66% respectively) (chart chart 28.02).

SMEs and intermediate-sized enterprises active in R&D exported more proportionally more than those that do not do R&D. Respectively, 31% and 34% of their turnover came from export, compared to 10% and 21% on average for all SMEs and ETIs (chart 28.03). Large firms that carry out R&D work do not export more than those that do not.

The R&D work carried out by SMEs was largely devoted to the service sector: micro-enterprises invested three quarters and SMEs (excluding micro-enterprises) half of their GERD in this area (chart 28.04). As a result, while SMEs (including MICs) account for only 17% of BERD, they account for almost half of the R & D expenditures of firms that are devoted to services. Nevertheless, these service activities are linked to industrial activities: these are activities that are outsourced by the industry. Thus, SMEs (including MIC) devote a quarter of their R&D expenditure to specialized, scientific and technical activities. Conversely, 43% of R&D expenditure by large enterprises went towards high technology industries (10% for pharmaceutical industry, manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products for 14% and 19% for manufacture of air and spacecraft) and 32% went to medium to high technology industries. Three-quarters of R&D expenditure by intermediate-sized enterprises was industrial, but less specialised.

Direct public funding for R&D (excluding tax relief and measures to reduce social security contributions) in the form of public subsidies and government contracts rose to €2.5 billion in 2014. Large enterprises received 66% of this total (chart 28.05), intermediate-sized enterprises 10% and SMEs 23%. There was therefore less of a focus on direct funding for intermediate-sized enterprises in relation to their R&D expenditure.

 Coverage:Whole of France.

How to cite this paper :

SCHWEITZER Camille. Research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises. In: Higher education & research in France, facts and figures - 49 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2017. 10th ed. Chapter 28 [Accessed 04/25/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-152033-2. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/10EN/EESR10EN_R_28-research_and_development_r_d_in_small_and_medium_sized_enterprises_smes_intermediate_sized_enterprises_and_large_enterprises.php

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Prior to 2008, the term 'enterprise' had a legal definition – a natural person or company that produces goods or services with the aim of selling them. Decree No. 2008-1354 on the Modernisation of the Economy (Loi de modernisation de l’économie – LME) of December 2008 defines an 'enterprise' as 'the smallest combination of legal units that is an organisational unit producing goods or services, which benefits from a certain degree of autonomy in decision-making' (Council Regulation (EEC) No. 696/93 of 15 March 1993).

Since 2008, an 'enterprise' has therefore been defined on the basis of economic, rather than legal, criteria.

The decree establishes four categories of enterprises:

Micro-enterprises (MIC) employ fewer than 10 people and have an annual turnover or balance sheet total of no more than €2 million. Micro-enterprises fall under the category of SMEs.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) employ fewer than 250 people and have a turnover of no more than €50 million or a balance sheet total of no more than €43 million. Micro-enterprises fall under the category of SMEs.

Intermediate-sized enterprises are companies that do not fall under the SME category, employ fewer than 5,000 people and have a turnover of no more than €1,500 million or a balance sheet total of no more than €2,000 million.

Large enterprises are companies that do not fall under any of the previous categories.

Only legal units located in France have been included in this analysis. Consequently, in the case of multinational companies, only units based within French territory are taken into account when analysing their R&D activities and determining which category of enterprise they fall under. Manufacturing industries are categorised according to their technology intensity using a typology of activities set out in the second version of the French classification of activities (Nomenclature d'activités française – NAF).

Four subsets are defined (OECD and Eurostat): high-technology, medium high-technology, medium low-technology and low-technology.

 

Key figures


Share of intramural business enterprise R&D expenditure executed by SMEs
13%
 
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "28. research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises".

Coverage: excluding micro-entreprises
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of all R&D staff in intermediate-sized enterprises
69,714
 people (FTE)
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "28. research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises".

Coverage: full-time equivalent
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of all R&D staff in micro-firms
14,247
 people (FTE)
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "28. research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises".

Coverage: full-time equivalent
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of intramural business enterprise R&D expenditure executed by intermediate-sized enterprises
26%
 
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "28. research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises".

Coverage: excluding micro-entreprises
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Intramural R&D expenditure by SMEs
4,052 M
 
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "28. research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises".

Coverage: excluding micro-entreprises
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of all R&D staff in large enterprises
119,865
 people (FTE)
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "28. research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises".

Coverage: full-time equivalent
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Intramural R&D expenditure by intermediate-sized enterprises
8,004 M
 
2014
Whole of France
 
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Intramural R&D expenditure by large enterprises
17,955 M
 
2014
Whole of France
 
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  See more key figures  
Number of all R&D staff in SMEs
44,214
 people (FTE)
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "28. research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises".

Coverage: excluding micro-entreprises
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Intramural R&D expenditure by micro-firms
1,122 M
 
2014
Whole of France
 
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Share of intramural business enterprise R&D expenditure executed by large enterprises
58%
 
2014
Whole of France
 
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Share of direct public funding benefitting SMEs
23%
 
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "28. research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises".

Coverage: excluding micro-entreprises
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Share of direct public funding benefitting large enterprises
66%
 
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "28. research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises".

Coverage: excluding micro-entreprises
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of direct public funding benefitting intermediate-sized enterprises
10%
 
2014
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "28. research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises".

Coverage: excluding micro-entreprises
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES

28.01 2014 figures for the different categories of enterprises carrying out R&D work

 
Micro-firms (MIC) SMEs (excluding MICs) Intermediate-size enterprises Large enterprises All
Gross domestic expenditure on R&D (€M) 1,122 4,052 8,004 17,955 31,133
Gross domestic expenditure on R&D (as a % of the total) 4 13 26 58 100
GERD as a % of turnover (%) 16 6 3 2 3
Direct public funding for R&D (M€) 202 395 257 1,695 2,549
Direct public funding / GERD (as a %) 18 10 3 9 8
Total R&D workforce (FTE) 14,247 44,214 69,714 119,865 248,041
Total R&D workforce (%) 6 18 28 48 100
Proportion of researchers in relation to total R&D workforce 68 66 63 66 100

 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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28.02 Total R&D workforce and researchers in 2014 by enterprise category (FTE)

SMEs (including MIC)
Intermediate-sized enterprises
Large enterprises
  
Total R&D workforce
Total researchers
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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28.03 Proportion of turnover from export in 2014 (%)

SMEs (including MIC)
Intermediate-sized enterprises
Large enterprises
  
R&D enterprises
All enterprises
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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28.04 Gross domestic expenditure on R&D in 2014 by technology intensity and enterprise category (in €M and as a %)

Micro-enterprises (MIC)
SMEs (excluding MICs)
Intermediate size enterprises
Large enterprises
  
high-technology
medium-high technology
medium-low technology
low technology
Other industries
Service activities
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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28.05 R&D expenditure and public funding in 2014 by company category (€M, %)

Intramural expenditure
Extramural expenditure
Direct public funding
  
SMEs (including MICs)
Intermediate-sized enterprises
Large enterprises
 
 

SME GERD accounts for 17% of all business GERD. R&D extramural expenditure (DERD) by SMEs represents 8% of total DERD. SMEs receive 23% of all direct public funding to finance their R&D work.

 Coverage: Whole of France.

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Related statistical publication

 Rapport sur l'évolution des PME 12 - Annual Report on SME Trends, 2016 - Collectif - February 2017
La situation économique et financière des PME et des ETI marque un redémarrage en 2015. Dans un contexte macroéconomique redevenu favorable mais encore incertain, les chefs d’entreprise font toutefois preuve de précaution, en particulier en matière d’investissement, d’autant que l’évolution des défaillances d’entreprises et des délais de paiement ne confirment pas l’amélioration entrevue en 2014. Pour autant, les décisions d’exporter et d’innover sont pérennisées, voire en expansion, les premières étant toujours portées par le dynamisme des TPE et des PME, les secondes l’étant davantage, cette année-ci, par celui des ETI. Les perspectives pour 2016 laisseraient envisager une nouvelle amélioration du climat des affaires pour toutes les catégories d’entreprise.

Le rapport propose notamment une contribution sur l'activité de R&D des PME et des ETI en 2014.


Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 9th edition - November 2016
29 - research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises - Anna Testas
In 2013, SMEs represented 17% of intramural business enterprise R&D expenditure (BERD), over half of which was invested in the service sector. Large enterprises, which accounted for 57% of BERD, focused three quarters of their R&D efforts in the high and medium-high technology industries [Consult the following page]
Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 8th edition - November 2015
28 - research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises - Anna Testas
In 2012, SMEs accounted for 86% of enterprises carrying out R&D work in France. They represented 16% of intramural business enterprise R&D expenditure (BERD), half of which was invested in the service sector. Large enterprises, which accounted for 59% of BERD, focused three quarters of their R&D efforts in the high and medium-high technology industries [Consult the following page]

Translation

 Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheL'état de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche en France n°10 - Avril 2017
28 - la R&D dans les PME, les ETI et les grandes entreprises - Camille Schweitzer
En 2014, les PME (y compris les micro-entreprises) réalisent 17 % des dépenses intérieures de R&D des entreprises (DIRDE). Elles consacrent plus de la moitié de leurs dépenses aux activités de services. Les grandes entreprises, à l’origine de 58 % de la DIRDE, réalisent les trois-quarts de leur effort dans les industries de haute et moyenne-haute technologie [Consult the following page in french]


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