We analyse the structural changes that have characterised the organisation of industrial R&D over the last 25 years. Taking Mowery's work (Industrial and Corporate Change, 2009, 18(1), 1-50) on the US as a starting point, we reconsider the different aspects of structural change he examined, discuss their impact and the overall logic underlying them. We then examine Europe to discover to what extent these structural changes have occurred in recent years. While a certain structural evolution is perceptible, it is not on the same scale as that analysed for the US. Finally, we consider the extent to which the new structures are more or less 'efficient' than previous ones. We conclude with the implications for R&D and innovation policy implications.