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

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

 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 specifying how the French Law on the Modernisation of the Economy (Loi de modernisation de l’économie – LME) of December 2008 should be enforced defines an 'enterprise' as being '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.

Intermediate-sized enterprises (Entreprises de taille intermédiaire – ETI) 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 (Les) 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

This page has been updated. Read 28. 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 10th edition - June 2017

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.

In 2012, around 15,000 enterprises in France were doing some form of R&D work: 86% were SMEs, two fifths of which were micro-enterprises (table 28.01).

Total BERD of enterprises with establishments in France amounted to €30.1 billion in 2012. The 250 largest companies were responsible for the majority of this expenditure, while intermediate-sized enterprises (entreprises de taille intermédiaire - ETI) accounted for one quarter. Although small enterprises accounted for a smaller proportion of total BERD, their R&D intensity 1 was greater than that of the largest companies. Micro-enterpises and SMEs (excluding micro-enterprises) allocated 26% and 7% of their turnover respectively to gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD), as compared with the 2% spent by large enterprises.

In 2012, R&D accounted for 246,700 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs, 63% 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 (66%) than in ETIs and large enterprises (61% and 64% respectively; chart 28.02). SMEs had more R&D jobs in relation to their GERD. Although they represented 16% of total BERD, together they accounted for 23% of those employed in R&D.

Although half of all R&D expenditure by SMEs was spent by enterprises made up of a single legal unit, expenditure by ETIs and large enterprises was spent in large part by enterprises organised in groups (chart 28.03). Foreign-owned enterprises accounted for half of all R&D expenditure by ETIs. However, 90% of R&D expenditure by large enterprises was spent by French groups. Generally speaking, foreign-owned enterprises in France often take the form of ETIs.

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). Conversely, 74% of R&D expenditure by large enterprises went towards high and medium-high technology industries. R&D expenditure by ETIs was more varied.

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 2012. Large enterprises received 67% of this total (chart 28.05), ETIs 10% and SMEs 24%. There was therefore less of a focus on direct funding for ETIs in relation to their R&D expenditure.

 Coverage:Whole of France.

1 A company's R&D intensity is the ratio of its R&D expenditure to its turnover.

How to cite this paper :

TESTAS Anna. 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, 2015. 8th ed. Chapter 28, 66-67 [Accessed 04/19/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-139433-9. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/EESR8EN_R_28-research_and_development_r_d_in_small_and_medium_sized_enterprises_smes_intermediate_sized_enterprises_and_large_enterprises-ILL_03.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 specifying how the French Law on the Modernisation of the Economy (Loi de modernisation de l’économie – LME) of December 2008 should be enforced defines an 'enterprise' as being '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.

Intermediate-sized enterprises (Entreprises de taille intermédiaire – ETI) 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 (Les) 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 SMEs in business enterprises active in R&D
86%
 
2012
Whole of France
 
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Share of intermediate-sized business enterprises in enterprises active in R&D
13%
 
2012
Whole of France
 
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Intramural R&D expenditure by micro-firms
880 M
 
2012
Whole of France
 
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Intramural R&D expenditure by intermediate-sized enterprises
7,640 M
 
2012
Whole of France
 
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Intramural R&D expenditure by SMEs
3,950 M
 
2012
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 large enterprises
17,605 M
 
2012
Whole of France
 
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Share of intramural business enterprise R&D expenditure executed by large enterprises
58.5%
 
2012
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 SMEs
23.6%
 
2012
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 intermediate-sized enterprises
9.9%
 
2012
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 large enterprises
66.6%
 
2012
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 intramural business enterprise R&D expenditure executed by SMEs
16.1%
 
2012
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 intramural business enterprise R&D expenditure executed by intermediate-sized enterprises
25.4%
 
2012
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  
Number of all R&D staff in micro-firms
11,800
 people (FTE)
2012
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 intermediate-sized enterprises
69,400
 people (FTE)
2012
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 SMEs
43,900
 people (FTE)
2012
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
121,600
 people (FTE)
2012
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

28.01 2012 figures for the different categories of enterprises carrying out R&D work

 
Micro-firms (MIC) SMEs (excluding MICs) Intermediate-sized enterprises Large enterprises All
Number of enterprises (as a % of total) 1 41 45 13 2 100
Total R&D workforce (FTE) 11,800 43,900 69,400 121,600 246,700
Proportion of researchers in relation to total R&D workforce (as a %) 67.0 65.0 61.0 64.0 63.0
GERD (in €M) 880 3,950 7,640 17,600 30,070
GERD / Turnover before tax (as a %) 26.0 7.0 3.0 2.0 3.0
Proportion of turnover from exports (as a %) 16.0 33.0 36.0 18.0 23.0
Direct public funding for R&D (in €M) 140 440 240 1,640 2,460
Direct public funding / GERD (as a %) 16.0 11.0 3.0 9.0 8.0
 

1 Estimates

 Coverage: Whole of France.

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28.02 Total R&D workforce and researchers in 2012 by enterprise category (FTE)

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

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28.03 R&D expenditure in 2012 by company category and ownership (in €M)

Micro-firms (MIC)
SMEs (excluding MICs)
Intermediate-sized enterprises
Large enterprises
  
Foreign-owned group
French group
Legal units separate from groups
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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28.04 Gross domestic expenditure on R&D in 2012 by technology intensity and enterprise category (in €M and as a %)

Micro-firms (MIC)
SMEs (excluding MICs)
Intermediate-sized enterprises
Large enterprises
All
  
Service sector
Other industries
Low technology
Medium low-technology
Medium high-technology
High-technology
 
 
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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28.05 R&D expenditure and public funding in 2012 by company category (in €M)

GERD
DERD
Direct public funding
  
Large enterprises
Intermediate-sized enterprises
SMEs (excluding MICs)
 
 

SME GERD accounts for 16% of all business GERD. R&D extramural expenditure (DERD) by SMEs represents 8% of total DERD. SMEs receive 18% of all direct public funding to finance their R&D work. 10% of their public funding is provided through government contracts, 49% is provided without government or local authority contracts and 42% comes through local funding.

 Coverage: Whole of France.

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Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017
28 - research and development (R&D) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), intermediate-sized enterprises and large enterprises - Camille Schweitzer
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 [Consult the following page]
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]

Translation

 Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheL'état de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche en France n°8 - juin 2015
28 - la R&D dans les PME, les ETI et les grandes entreprises - Anna Testas
En 2012, les PME représentent 86 % des entreprises ayant réalisé des activités de R&D en France. Elles effectuent 16 % des dépenses intérieures de R&D des entreprises (DIRDE), dont la moitié en faveur des activités de services. Les grandes entreprises, à l’origine de 59 % 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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