Central Europe Corporate R&D Report
The purpose of the survey was to formulate proposals for the regulatory environment and funding policies which are based on the opinion and expectations of related medium-sized and big national and multinational companies.
The survey was started in Hungary in 2011, now it is regional and to be repeated annually that will, furthermore, enable a comparison of the achievements and expectations of companies country by country and from year to year.
- Compared to the previous three years, 2016 has seen a rise in the percentage of Hungarian respondents who expect an increase in research and development spending in the next 1 to 2 years. Also, for the first time in six years, more respondents are planning to increase their R&D spending in the coming 1 to 2 years than those who are expecting to keep R&D spending at the same level. Moreover, nearly 60% of survey participants are planning to increase their R&D spending in the medium term (in the next 3 to 5 years) compared to 2015, which is almost the same as the percentage recorded in 2015.
- In 2016, respondents considered the availability of different types of benefits to be the most critical factor influencing the increase of R&D spending in the short term (in the coming 1 or 2 years), followed by the availability of skilled and experienced researchers. Unlike in previous years, access to and cooperation with universities and research institutes have become a crucial factor as well – but often not necessarily for good reason.
- Due to the fact that the availability of different types of benefits is the factor that influences the most the increase in companies' R&D spending in the short run, should the proportion of (non-refundable) grants be reduced in the case of large enterprises and should the conditions for so-called financial instruments not be suitable for beneficiaries, then the relative abundance of funds will not necessarily result in a proportional increase in corporate R&D spending. Therefore, the relative abundance of funds will not necessarily support corporate ambitions for increased R&D spending.
- A considerable change compared to the last two years is that now only 5.5% of survey participants would not take any action to protect their intellectual property or know-how, down from one quarter of all respondents last year. Looking at the various tools available to protect intellectual property, the most significant increase was recorded in terms of the use of a company secrets policy, patents and copyrights in 2016.
- A comparison of the 2016 results with last year’s survey shows that companies are planning a greater increase in their R&D investments, over both the next one to two years (45%) and the next three to five years (57%).
- The principal drivers that are motivating companies to invest more in R&D include the availability of more types of benefits, enabling them to use a combination of grants, tax deductions etc. and the availability of skilled and experienced researchers.
- Most companies (71%) are continuing to collaborate with third parties, such as universities and research institutes, which is proving beneficial for both parties.
- The key concerns expressed by companies from all surveyed countries include the uncertainties they face when the tax authorities review the subsidies and tax deductions they have used, the uncertainties in identification of R&D activities and a scarcity of qualified and experienced research personnel.
- The highest proportion of companies mostly use a company secrets policy to protect their know-how and intellectual property (69%), followed by patents and utility designs (40%) and trade marks (31%).