Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster today welcomed figures that show Northern Ireland saw the highest ever Research and Development (R&D) expenditure in 2012.
Total R&D investment was up by 10% from 568 million in 2011 to 624 million in 2012, in cash terms. This was equivalent to an 8% increase in real terms.
Commenting on the figures, the Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster said: “I very much welcome the latest figures which show record investment in R&D in Northern Ireland in 2012. Businesses increased expenditure in R&D has now reached a record high of £461million, an increase of 19% over the year.”
Referring to the fact that total R&D expenditure for SMEs increased by £32million (23%) from 2011 to £173million in 2012, in cash terms, the Minister continued: “Since 2007 SME R&D expenditure has increased by 47% and it is encouraging to see an increase of 23% over the year in the total R&D expenditure for SMEs.
“Although our largest firms inevitably undertake much of the business R&D in our economy, our SMEs can be amongst the greatest innovators. This is hugely impressive given the challenging trading conditions companies are facing. It is also testament I believe to the continued commitment by the NI Executive to prioritising innovation and R&D as a key driver of economic growth.”
Arlene Foster concluded: “Forward-thinking companies recognise that investment in R&D places them in a strong position to exploit future opportunities. Northern Ireland has some outstanding R&D intensive firms across its key sectors and we must continue to build on this.
“Working in partnership with my Executive colleagues I am committed to helping many more businesses invest in R&D and Innovation. Invest NI recently published their mid-year results and they are delivering a very strong performance towards R&D Programme for Government targets. To date, £217million of investment in R&D has been secured against a target of £300million and 41% of this investment has been by SMEs, which is well ahead of the 2011-2015 PfG target of 20%.”