Brussels, 31 October 2006
The last year has seen a dramatic GBP2 billion (€3 billion) increase in research and development (R&D) investment by UK companies.
According to the UK Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) 2006 R&D scoreboard, spending on R&D has increased to GBP19.2 billion (€28.6 billion) in 2006 from around GBP17 billion (€25.4 billion) in the previous year.
The Scoreboard found the key growth areas to be the software sector, which benefited from a 13% increase in R&D investment, and the pharmaceutical and aerospace industries, with the latter seeing a 21% increase.
Some of the overall increase in spending is due to a number of companies revealing their R&D spending for the first time but a third of this increase is the result of a 4% boost in spending from the UK's top 800 companies.
The report - which identifies the world's top 1,250 R&D spenders based on companies' annual reports - found that the UK's top R&D companies are matching the pace set by their US counterparts, with both showing an 8% rise in R&D compared to the previous year.
UK Minister for Science and Innovation, Lord Sainsbury said the results show 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'.
Lord Sainsbury added that there is still room for improvement. '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,' he said..
The UK figures follow encouraging results from the European Commission's Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, which found that R&D spending by 1,000 European companies grew by an encouraging 5.3 per cent in 2005.
Also positive are the findings that 18 out of the top 50 biggest spenders on R&D are European and five of the 10 companies with the fastest spending growth are from the EU too.