Is Research and Development the Most Invincible Industry?

Jan 26, 2021

Why and how is this industry faring so well while others are struggling to recover?

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Undoubtedly one of the most important and necessary industries that also plays an important role in other industries, the Research and Development Industry is seeing exciting growth and increases in a number of sectors. Throughout 2020, many industries were upended as companies and countries struggled to find ways to maneuver through the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while the Research and Development Industry did have sectors that found themselves struggling, others found themselves prospering and succeeding in such a way that created a positive outlook on the industry as a whole. But, why and how is this industry faring so well while others are struggling to recover?

Pharmaceutical research and development spending for the entire industry totaled over $6.5 billion USD, an increase of over $4 million from the previous year. This increase, the largest increase of any of the industry’s sectors, is the strongest of the entire year, and can be seen even in regional and country levels. In the United Kingdom pharmaceutical sector alone, spending for research and development rose just under 7 percent, and marks an eight-year high of growth. It should come as no real surprise that pharmaceutical research and development has grown during this uncertain time. Work on vaccine development is believed to be the main factor in how quickly this sector has grown. Approximately 29,000 people are currently employed in global pharmaceutical research and development, a 3.4 percent increase from 2018, which also shows the continued growth of the sector.

Other sectors of the Research and Development Industry are showing growth, although some are moving at slower rates than others. Spending in the printing, pulp, and paper sector saw the most growth percent-wise, increasing over 31 percent to a total of over $1.2 billion. Businesses across the United Kingdom invested over $35 billion in research and development, and while this was an increase of 3.3 percent, it is still the slowest growth rate since 2012. Full-time research and development employees in the country also grew over 4 percent, now totaling approximately 263,000 employees.

However, some sectors of the global Research and Development Industry are still struggling, or could use more resources to strengthen and grow. Recently, the United States Department of Energy announced a series of grants totaling $37 million. These grants, distributed to 139 small businesses across 32 states, will allow further research into innovations to advance the Department’s Office of Science. Once the first phase of research is completed, grant recipients who were successful in their efforts will be invited to apply for the next phase to continue their research with more funding. More on some of the projects in development can be found here. These grants are expected to help create both innovation and jobs for the United States government.

As the world begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and find how to maneuver in a world returning to a more normal structure, it is clear that the Research and Development Industry will have fared very well, if not the best, of the other global industries. With regular signs of growth and efforts being made to stimulate underperforming or weaker sectors, it is also clear that governments and companies are aware of the importance of this industry. Once on the other side of the global health crisis, one can assume that the Research and Development Industry will continue to soar.

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