National spending in 2004 on research and development reached 34.58 billion euros, 2.2 % of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) - which places France in 3rd position amongst counties of the OECD. The Gouvernment objective for 2010 is to increase the R&D budget to 3% of the GDP.
The public sector, that is in charge of the running of the main national research centres, contribute 46,5%. 53,5% comes from companies who focus on high technology sectors (Automotive, Telecoms, Pharmaceutical, Aeronautic & Chemical)
In 2003, France had 346,000 researchers and full-time workers.
In 2004, 17 300 patents were registered in France. Between 2004 and 2005, the number of registrations increased of 2.9%. The highest number of registrations come from the automotive sector with Renault (1st place with 607 patents) and Peugeot-citroen (3rd place with 386 patents), L'Oreal reached the 2nd place with 525 patents.
R&D centres benefit from a favourable tax status. The recent set up of 400 research centres for international companies is proof of the interest they generate for the "Technopole" network and the science parks. Currently half of all European research centres are based in France.