22/11/2002

Survey reveals increasing R&D expenditure

Last year, Northern Ireland experienced the highest growth in Research and Development (R&D) expenditure across the UK, with an increase of 45% in business spend on R&D.

This was just one of the many encouraging statistics unveiled this morning as the latest figures (for the year ending 2001) for R&D in Northern Ireland were published.

Direct-rule Economy Minister Ian Pearson said: “Figures released this morning show that total expenditure on R&D was £264m in 2001, of which £155m was spent by business and nearly £100m by the universities.

“Research, Development and Innovation has been much in focus this week with the launch of the government’s new strategy entitled 'think, create, innovate'. Developing a vibrant knowledge-based economy is vital if Northern Ireland is to become a modern economy and generate future employment growth.

“I am therefore particularly pleased that there has been an increase of 45% in business R&D expenditure since 1999. The universities also have the potential to play a vital role in fostering technological innovation in Northern Ireland and it is important that the employment potential in this area is developed fully."

The Minister also said that figures indicate that there were the equivalent of 2,480 whole time employees working in R&D in 2001, which represents a 13% increase compared to 1999.

In 2001, expenditure per R&D employee was also some 33% higher than in 1999, with the 10 biggest spending companies accounting for almost 70% of R&D conducted in Northern Ireland.

(MB)

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