There has been a £2 billion rise in UK companies’ R&D investment according to figures published today in the DTI’s 2006 R&D Scoreboard.
R&D investment is £19.2 billion compared to £17 billion reported in the 2005 Scoreboard. Around two thirds of this substantial increase is due to companies in sectors such as banks, insurance, media and retail disclosing R&D for the first time. The remaining third reflects a four per cent increase in R&D by the top 800 UK companies compared with the previous year.
The UK’s top R&D companies are keeping pace with their US counterparts in the world’s top 1250 R&D companies, with both showing an 8 per cent rise in R&D compared with the previous year.
The Scoreboard also shows UK companies’ continuing strength in aerospace and pharmaceuticals and reflects a growing software sector - aerospace R&D is up 21 per cent and software up 13 per cent.
Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury said:
“This year’s Scoreboard confirms again that R&D plays a key part in business success, and demonstrates the ever-widening relevance of innovation, and the R&D that goes into its creation, for companies large and small.
“The UK is an attractive location for R&D activities and companies are increasingly recognising the benefits of the UK as a productive environment for R&D investment.
“Global competition remains strong and the Government is committed to making the UK one of the best places in the world for science and innovation.”
The R&D Scoreboard is the premier source of information on business R&D in the UK and globally, looking at data for the top 1250 global R&D investing companies (which includes 72 from the UK) and the top 800 from the UK. It shows that:
- The top ten foreign-owned UK companies account for just over half of the £4.4 billion of R&D performed by foreign-owned UK companies. Eight of these 10 have higher R&D intensities than their overseas parents and this emphasises the attractions of the UK as a location for R&D;
- UK R&D is particularly strong in pharmaceuticals (£6.8 billion of R&D) and aerospace and contains a growing software sector (119 companies in 2006); and,
- Smaller UK companies are increasing their R&D as well as larger ones: this year, 88 more companies reported over £0.5 million of R&D. The proportion of UK companies with R&D above £2.9m and with high R&D intensity (over 10 per cent) is rising and is significantly above that of the rest of the EU although still below the USA.
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