In this survey, the objective is to identify current trends in the smart grid research by exploring the work carried out in numerous smart grid labs worldwide. For this purpose, a large number of smart grid labs are identified, and a short description of their activities is given. Fifty-eight out of the 75 identified labs are located in Europe. Smart grid research is divided into categories, which represent popular topics of research in the field. The predominant category of research is identified to be generation and distributed energy resources (Gen & DER) with 91% of the labs conducting research in this field. Aggregated information is presented regarding the labs, providing a clear idea of the topics of research carried out. Connections between different topics of research are presented, which reveal synergies or collaboration gaps among various smart grid topics. Grid management and Gen & DER and energy storage and Gen & DER have been found to be popular combinations of topics with 55 labs active in both, respectively. In addition, we provide insights on the entities at which research is targeted and consider the evolution of publications produced by thelabs on the different categories. An overall increase in publications was observed over the past 11 years in virtually all categories of smart grid research with the most published scientific papers in Gen & DER and electromobility. Collaborations between research institutes have been analyzed, pointing out existing joint research conducted and the huge potential to explore synergies between institutes further. Our work is useful in order to identify the smart grid areas where research is focusing on. This gives a clear picture of potential synergies between labs for knowledge sharing and enhancing their research efforts.