The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending November 3, 2023, closed at 2,983.81 for the 25 companies in the RDWI. The Index was up 3.81% (or 109.53 basis points). Twenty-four RDWI members gained value last week from 0.15% (Roche Holdings). To 12.26% (Volkswagen AG). One RDWI member lost value last week at -5.52% (Alphabet/Google).
The Biden administration last week announced it is setting up a federal organization dedicated to evaluating the safety of AI as it is used in healthcare as well as the broader societal concerns that have come to the forefront following the rapid acceptance of GPT (generative pre-trained transformer) AI-based software programs. The new U.S. AI Safety Institute will develop technical guidance for future regulatory rulemaking and enforcement efforts. This announcement follows an executive order signed earlier to establish guardrails for AI security and seeks to require developers to share their safety test results with the U.S. government. The Institute will operate under the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Technology solution provider World Wide Technology (WWT), St. Louis, announced last week that it plans to develop an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) R&D laboratory in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi. This move is part of the company’s plans to expand its operations in the Middle East and follows its recent partnership with the Cyber Security Council of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government. WWT creates, develops, and implements technology products for its clients using the company’s Advanced Technology Center, a virtual ecosystem providing hardware and software solutions through a series of physical labs.
RDW Index member AstraZeneca PLC (AZ), Cambridge, U.K., announced last week its partnership with Axis Communications, Lund, Sweden, will provide new surveillance upgrades to AZ’s R&D center in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The upgrades will improve campus security and lab safety, enhance operational efficiency, and improve sustainability efforts. AZ’s Gaithersburg campus consists of 10 buildings with 1.4 million ft2 of offices, labs, and manufacturing facilities for its 3,500 employees. AZ found that its existing security camera network was not evolving fast enough to meet the dynamic needs of the innovative work environment. The Axis system incorporates multiple sensor systems and analytics to provide business intelligence solutions.
The Biden administration also announced last week the creation of 31 regional technology hubs across the U.S. to spur the development and manufacturing of key technologies. $0.5 billion of initial funding for these hubs is part of the economic development initiative under the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act signed into law in 2022 with $10 billion available over the next five years. This week’s announcement establishes centers for the advancement of semiconductors, clean energy, critical materials, biotechnology, precision medicine, AI, and quantum computing. The $40 million to $70 million dedicated per site has not been established yet. Five to ten hubs are expected to receive funding during the second phase of the project to run between three and eight projects. The Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration also awarded 29 development grants designed to help communities prepare to compete for future technology hub designations.
Schneider Electric SE, Paris, announced last week that it is opening a new $4 million R&D lab in Montreal, Canada, for the development and testing of digital building applications. The 4,500 ft2 facility will be completed by the end of 2024 and will feature state-of-the-art equipment, 3D technology, and simulators that revolutionize the design, testing, and development of digital building applications, along with reverse engineering of existing systems.
Amazon.com is taking advantage of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act in the design and construction of its Arlington, Virginia, headquarters building to receive tax credits for the capture and containment of carbon. The company is working with CarbonCure Technologies, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, to use green concrete in Its Arlington HQ building. Amazon has also invested directly in CarbonCure. RDW Index member Microsoft, Redmond, Washington, has also invested in CarbonCure and is experimenting with new concrete production methods. Large amounts of carbon dioxide are emitted in the concrete production process.
RDW Index member Toyota, Toyota Aichi, Japan, announced last week that it will more than double its investment in a battery plant under construction in North Carolina. The increased investment is aimed at increasing the company’s ability to meet demand for hybrid electric vehicles (EVs). With its latest $8 billion investment, the company is planning on spending nearly $14 billion to turn its Liberty, North Carolina, facility into a massive hub for battery production. The 1,000-acre site will incorporate 14 assembly lines producing batteries for hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and fully EVs. Battery production is scheduled to begin in 2025.
Investment bank Morgan Stanley, New York City, announced last week that it is backing Huel, Tring, U.K., a supplier of plant-based food powders and meal replacement drinks. This is the second deal made by the bank’s investment management arm from its 1GT carbon-reduction strategy. Huel serves more than 900,000 active online customers across 100 countries with its nutritional products. Morgan Stanley’s 1GT fund aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by a gigaton by 2050.
R&D World’s R&D Index is a weekly stock market summary of the top international companies involved in R&D. The top 25 industrial R&D spenders in 2020 were selected based on the latest listings from Schonfeld & Associates’ June 2020 R&D Ratios & Budgets. These 25 companies include pharmaceutical (10 companies), automotive (6 companies), and ICT (9 companies) which invested a cumulative total of nearly 260 billion dollars in R&D in 2019, or approximately 10% of all the R&D spending in the world by government, industries, and academia combined, according to R&D World’s 2021 Global R&D Funding Forecast. The stock prices used in the R&D World Index are tabulated from NASDAQ, NYSE, and OTC common stock prices for the companies selected at the close of stock trading business on the Friday preceding the online publication of the R&D World Index.