Irish-owned enterprises raise their spend on R&D activities

New figures show foreign-owned businesses spend more on research and development

Irish-owned enterprises increased R&D spending by 12.1 per cent or €104.1 million between 2017 and 2019

Irish-owned enterprises increased R&D spending by 12.1 per cent or €104.1 million between 2017 and 2019

 

Nearly €3.26 billion was expected to be spent on research and development by businesses in Ireland last year, with Irish-owned enterprises forecasting a record R&D spend.

New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) indicate that €977.8 million of the total expected spend on R&D spend last year would be from Irish-owned enterprises. This compares to €963 million in 2019.

Foreign-owned businesses based in the Republic were forecast to spend €2.4 billion on R&D activities last year, up from €2.29 billion a year earlier.

Overall, Irish-owned enterprises increased R&D spending by 12.1 per cent or €104.1 million between 2017 and 2019, the data shows.

Some 70.4 per cent of all R&D expenditure in 2019 was undertaken by foreign-owned enterprises.

In terms of R&D spend, the largest 100 enterprises accounted for almost €2.7billion, or 81.8 per cent, of the total R&D expenditure that year.

In 2019, enterprises reported that almost €1.7 billion of R&D expenditure was spent on labour costs, equivalent for just over half of all spend. Other costs, including materials, supplies, equipment and overheads lined to R&D, accounted for just over €1 billion of spending, equivalent to 31 per cent of total expenditure.

The remaining 17.1 per cent or €555.7 million in spending was accounted for by capital expenditure, which included software developed in-house for R&D purposes.

Services

R&D spending was highest in the services sector, accounting for 61 per cent of all expenditure. In 2019, €2 billion was spent in this sector, while manufacturing companies spent €1.3billion.

Just 10.7 per cent of expenditure came from external sources with 89.3 per cent of all R&D spend funded by enterprises’ themselves.

Women accounted for 27.1 per cent of all R&D staff locally in 2019, up from 26.1 per cent and 24.1 per cent in 2017 and 2015 respectively.

In 2019, close to 1,8000 businesses said they were engaged in some R&D activity, of which 69.3 per cent spend less than €500,000 per annum. Just 13.4 per cent of enterprises said they spent €2 million on more on R&D. Of the businesses engaged in R&D, over 1,200 were classified as small enterprises, that is companies employing less than 50 people.

There were 1,322 Irish-owned enterprises engaged in R&D activities in 2019 which equates to 73.5 per cent of all R&D active businesses.

Overall, the Republic ranked 13th in the European Union in terms of R&D intensity in 2017, the last year for which records are available. This compares to 13th place in a ranking from 2013.