For 20 years, the BIS (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) collected data on the top 1000 UK and global companies investing the most in R&D. This was collated into a document known as the R&D Scoreboard, and the data tables can be downloaded from the now-archived BIS website.
Financial statistics such as sales and operating profit were also provided, as were the number of employees. These could be compared with data from previous years to examine trends in R&D investment over time and as a proportion of sales, profit, or per employee.
Alas, the final report was published in 2010, using data collected in 2009. David Willetts, Minister of State for Science and Innovation at the time, explained this was because “today’s companies better understand the importance of R&D to their long-term success.” The second, more plausible reason given was “financial pressures have made it necessary to reduce public spending” – resulting in the R&D Scorecard being axed.
Albeit out-of-date, the 2010 report still contains useful information for the active jobseeker. For example, of the top 1000 UK companies investing in R&D in the UK (including global companies with UK subsidiaries), 260 were in the industry sectors of pharma/biotech, chemicals, oil/gas producers, food producers or health care equipment/services.
This list of companies could be useful for identifying less well-known small and medium-sized enterprises that may be accepting speculative CVs through their website. The visualisation below plots UK R&D investment against the number of UK employees. The tools on the right can be used to filter for companies depending on size, and hovering over a datapoint reveals the company name.
For interest, the alternative view below plots the R&D expenditure per employee against the number of UK employees (for which Google helpfully produces this great quote: “The joy of engineering is to find a straight line on a double logarithmic diagram”).