With a global economy that has grown increasingly competitive, companies are feeling pressured to increase their pace in creating innovative products. Consequently, they are sinking more and more money into research and development. That's the finding of the latest annual survey by Technical Insights' Inside R&D. The survey found that the top 100 US companies spent a total of $92.2 billion in 1997, a 13.8 percent increase from $81.1 billion in 1996. The growth in funding reflects an attempt to maintain an advantage in essential high-tech sectors such as electronics and computer software. These companies also have raised the overall percentage of R&D spending. In 1996, they accounted for only 44 percent of overall spending. In 1997, the top 100 shelled out 48 percent of the total $192 billion estimated by Battelle Memorial Institute. Lucent Technologies, for example, climbed to fourth on the list, investing more than $4 billion in R&D. Companies in the scientific and photographic equipment industry invested $4.7 billion and those in the telecommunications industry, $829 million.