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Record spend on research and development in 2010

Northern Ireland saw the highest ever Research and Development (R&D) expenditure in 2010. Investment was up by 8% in cash terms.
Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Total R&D investment rose from £482.8 million in 2009 to £521.4 million in 2010.

Over the year total Business R&D expenditure increased by £20.3 million (6%) to £344.0 million. There was also an increase of £18.8 million (13%) in Higher Education expenditure to £161.8 million and a decrease in Government expenditure of £0.5 million (-3%) to £15.6 million over the same period.

The increase in Business R&D expenditure was due to higher spend by locally owned companies – up 27% (from £86.7 million in 2009 to £109.9 million in 2010).

Northern Ireland Businesses’ (in–house) R&D expenditure has shown the second highest percentage annual increase (9%) of the UK regions, with a rise in R&D investment from £297 million in 2009 to £324 million in 2010.

Commenting on the figures, the Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster said:

“I very much welcome the latest figures which show the highest expenditure ever on R&D in Northern Irealnd . It is encouraging that despite the challenging economic circumstances companies are continuing to invest in research and development . Such companies recognise that by continuing to invest in new products and processes, it will give them greater competitive advantage in markets where there are still opportunities for growth.

“The proposed Northern Ireland Economic Strategy has identified the key strategic markets in which we can compete and win internationally. It is important therefore to continue to invest in R&D and Innovation so that we can further exploit our reputation for excellence in specific niche areas of science and technology.

The Minister added: “I am particularly pleased that our local companies have shown a 27% increase in their R&D spend. This is very encouraging because as we strive to rebalance our economy to one that is more knowledge based we need to build up a high value added indigenous sector. This enhanced focus on technology exploitation, advanced manufacturing, and our ongoing excellence in engineering will set the firm foundations of a strong and durable export-led economy.

“We must also continue to encourage increased collaboration between our local companies and our further and higher education sector so that business capacity to exploit t world class research contunes to grow. By doing this we will lay strong foundations for future sustainable economic growth. I would encourage other locally owned businesses to follow this example. Invest NI offers an excellent range of incentives for businesses to invest in developing their goods and services. Now is a good time for local companies to look again at what is on offer.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Of the £521.4 million spent on total R&D, £344.0 million (66%) was spent by Businesses, £161.8 million (31%) by the Higher Education sector and the remainder was Government expenditure.
  2. The change in total R&D to 2010 was due to increases of £20.3 million (6%) in Business R&D expenditure and £18.8 million (13%) in Higher Education expenditure coupled with a decrease of £0.5 million (-3%) in Government R&D expenditure over the year.
  3. Companies with ownership outside Northern Ireland continue to play an important role in financing R&D. Such externally owned companies accounted for 68% of expenditure compared to 32% by locally owned companies. R&D expenditure by locally owned companies increased by 27% (£23.2million) over the year compared to a decrease of 1% (£3.0million) by externally-owned companies.
  4. Northern Ireland is dependent on a relatively small number of companies for a significant proportion of R&D expenditure. The ten biggest spending companies accounted for 59% of the total R&D spend in Northern Ireland in 2010, slightly higher than in 2009 (57%).
  5. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs - enterprises with less than 250 employees) accounted for just under two-fifths (39%) of Business R&D expenditure. Total R&D expenditure for SMEs fell by £10.9 million (-8%) from 2009 to 2010, in cash terms. Since 2005 it has increased by 78% to £133.4 million.
  6. Of the 12 UK regions, nine showed an increase in in-house business R&D expenditure in cash terms over the period 2009 to 2010. Northern Ireland Businesses’ (in–house) R&D expenditure has shown the second highest percentage annual increase (9.1%) of the UK regions, with a rise in R&D investment from £297million in 2009 to £324 million in 2010. In-house R&D expenditure for the UK as a whole increased by 3.7% over the year.
  7. The Northern Ireland in-house business R&D expenditure as a proportion of Gross Value Added (GVA) (1.1%) was the sixth highest of the twelve UK regions based on 2009 Regional GVA data published by the Office for National Statistics on 8th December 2010. The corresponding figure for the UK was 1.3%. In 2005, the Northern Ireland figure was 0.6%.
  8. In real price terms, total R&D expenditure rose by £24.3 million (5%). Business R&D expenditure rose by £10.7 million (3%), Higher Education R&D expenditure rose by £14.6 million (10%) and Government expenditure fell by £1.0m (-6%) over the year.
  9. Please note that R&D expenditure may vary from year to year due to the influence of one or two large-scale projects, especially where there is significant capital expenditure.
  10. For further information – full detailed results will be available in the Research & Development Statistics Bulletin, which will be published on 14 December 2011 at the DETI website.
  11. For media enquiries, please contact DETI Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Outside office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
  12. General information on R&D can be obtained from Patrick McVeigh, DFP Economic and Labour Market Statistics Branch, on Tel: 028 9052 9606.