Keywords: Research and Development; National Competitiveness; Technological Innovation; High-tech Sectors.
Despite the fact that in the past Italian firms have often introduced innovations which were not based on R&D activities, at present R&D is a fundamental competitive asset at international level. Nonetheless, Italian private R&D investments are below the average of similar advanced countries and differences in the way data are collected at national level are weak excuses, despite the objective difficulties in obtaining data at firm level. This article aims at discussing the Italian situation using information from the 2005 "EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard", which collects data from the 700 European companies which invest the largest sums in R&D. 25 of these companies are Italian and their position is analysed in terms of industrial sectors, sales and employees. The article also contains some remarks about actions, regarding R&D, which could be taken by firms and policy makers.