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Economic lessons to be learned: Foster

Northern Ireland can learn from the success of other small open economies when developing a new Economic Strategy.
Tuesday, 21 June 2011

That was the message from Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, when she launched completed projects from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Research Agenda 2008-2011. The research focused on international best practice in the areas of economic competitiveness, innovation and employment.

Commenting on the projects, the Minister said: “This research highlights that small economies, many of which have faced similar challenges to those in Northern Ireland, can achieve economic success and significantly increase their living standards.

“While it is clear there is no quick fix, the research highlights a range of policy approaches which could potentially benefit the local economy. It is also encouraging that the findings support the draft framework outlined in the consultation document for a new Economic Strategy.”

Arlene Foster continued: “Sustained investment in Research & Development and Innovation has been central to success in economies such as Finland and Sweden. As Northern Ireland continues to move towards the creation of a knowledge based economy, there are lessons we can learn from the approach taken in these countries.

“It is also evident that inward investment, supported by low Corporation Tax and improvements in skills and infrastructure, has led to a real step change in economic performance in countries such as Singapore.”

The research provides insight into the drivers of economic success as well as other relevant areas including export performance, supporting domestic companies and developing a more private-sector led economy.

Highlighting the importance of carrying out research on economic policy issues, the Minister concluded: “Research plays a key role in ensuring that economic policy development is supported by a strong evidence base. These projects, in particular, provide an invaluable assessment of best practice elsewhere and ensure that we are outward-looking in our approach to economic policy. The outcome of this research will therefore be vital in supporting the development of a new Economic Strategy for Northern Ireland.”

This research projects from the DETI Research Agenda 2008-11 can be accessed online at: to external website or by contacting

Note to editors:

1. Media enquiries to DETI Press Office tel: 028 9052 9263.

2. Under the current Research Agenda, DETI is taking forward four projects looking at international best practice in the key policy areas of productivity and employment growth:

Building Economic Competitiveness: Lessons from Small Peripheral European Economies

Productivity, Innovation and Competitiveness in Small Open Economies

The Changing Face of Innovation Policy: Complementing R&D Initiatives in Northern Ireland

Promoting Investment and Increasing Employment Among the Economically Inactive: A Review of Best Practice

3. For press enquiries please contact DETI Press Office on tel: 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.