Scientific Research & Development Services
Companies in this industry conduct research or apply research findings to develop new products or processes in a variety of fields, including life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, social sciences, and the humanities. Major companies include Argonne National Laboratory, Battelle Memorial Institute, and IQVIA (all based in the US), as well as AKKA Technologies (France), Qinetiq Group (UK), and WuXi Apptec (China).
Global spending on research and development, a demand driver for scientific research services, is about $2.1 trillion. Global R&D investment has been growing steadily over the last several years, with China leading the charge. The US accounts for about 26% of the world’s total R&D spending, Europe for about 21%, and China for about 21%, according to the Industrial Research Institute (IRI) and R&D Magazine.
The US scientific research and development services industry includes about 19,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $135 billion.
Demand is driven by government and commercial investment in science and technology. The profitability of individual companies depends on the discovery of potentially useful or marketable new products. Large companies can compete by employing scientists across several disciplines and taking advantage of economies of scale; they can also compete by managing government research operations. Small companies can compete by focusing on their expertise in a single specialty. The US industry is fragmented: the top 50 companies account for about 40% of revenue.
The prospect of patentable -- and potentially lucrative -- discoveries through research into scientific processes motivates new companies to join the industry. Companies often compete for research funding such as government grants or commercial contracts.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major services include basic and applied research in three main categories: the physical and engineering sciences (about 25% of industry revenue); life
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Quarterly Industry Update
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Glossary of Acronyms