By Kari Williamson

R&D funding growth will largely be driven by Asian economies – a number projected to increase by nearly 9% in 2012. Elsewhere in the world, growth remains strong and stable in the aftermath of the global recession. Greece is the only country among the world's top 40 R&D spenders that is not expected to increase its R&D budget during the next year.

The study also predicts that overall European R&D will grow by about 3.5% while North American R&D will grow by 2.8%.

Energy R&D

Energy-related research sponsored by US manufacturers and technology providers could reach nearly US$6.7 billion in 2012, up 23.1% from 2011. Global spending by energy-related companies is set to grow by 7.8% to reach US$17.9bn in 2012.

The US Department of Energy has identified key R&D areas where DoE programmes and investment can play a significant development role. The areas address both energy supply and demand and relate to both stationary power (deploying clean electricity, modernising the grid and increasing building/industrial efficiency) and transport power (deploying alternative hydrocarbon fuels, electrifying the vehicle fleet, and increasing vehicle efficiency).