Investments in intangible items (research and development, training, software…) have played a crucial role in the development of innovation and long-term growth as exemplified by the US economy since 1995.

However, their specificities ( they are invisible, cannot be traded easily and their returns are uncertain) make them particularly unsuitable for bank loans which are the main source of finance for firms in the EU, as pointed out by a STAREBEI research by Matthieu Segol (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne).

Based on the annual EIB Group survey on investment and investment finance of EU firms (EIBIS), the research differentiates the effects of different loan terms (amount, cost, maturity, collateral) on investment in several types of intangibles (R&D, software, training and organizational capital).

It shows that the amount of loans is not sufficient to fully unlock intangible investment in Europe and that additional measures such as subsidized interest rates, credit-guarantee schemes and intangible-backed lending would be needed to help Europe catch up with the US.

STAREBEI (STAges de REcherche BEI-EIB research internships) is a programme that provides grants to universities in order to finance junior researchers carrying out research projects proposed by the EIB Group (EIB and EIF) under the joint supervision of a university tutor and an EIB or EIF co-tutor. To date, 54 young researchers from 37 universities in 12 European countries have benefited from the STAREBEI programme.

Click here for the research.