UK R&D spending: Less on swords, more on ploughshares

March 28, 2013

Spending on defence research and development in the UK has declined by 57 per cent since 1989, data from the Office for National Statistics show.

Figures in the ONS statistical bulletin UK Gross Domestic Expenditure on Research and Development, 2011 show that R&D spending in the civil sector hit a high of £25.4 billion in 2011, accounting for 93 per cent of all UK R&D spending.

This constituted a 5 per cent annual rise in current prices from 2010, although defence R&D spending also increased in the same period by 3 per cent to £2 billion.

The overall rise in R&D spending was largely accounted for by the business sector. Adjusted for inflation, its spending rose by 6 per cent to £17.4 billion between 2010 and 2011 (higher education spending rose by just 0.2 per cent to £7.1 billion).

The £.4 billion spent on R&D in 2011 represented 1.79 per cent of UK national wealth, a slight increase from 1.77 per cent in 2010. However, this was still below the European Union average of 2.03 per cent.

elizabeth.gibney@tsleducation.com

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