Record spend on research and development in 2010

A National Statistics press release, detailing the latest Research and Development (R&D) 2010 figures has been published today by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI). 

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

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 Ireland. 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 continues 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.”