Spending of £783m on R&D by State


PUBLIC funding of research and development in 1996 came to 1.7 per cent of GDP, according to a report published yesterday.

The Forfas report shows that a total of £695 million was spent by all public bodies and agencies during the year.

The total government spend, which includes funds from the EU's Community Support Framework (CSF), came to £783 million. This is an increase of £82.1 million, or 11.7 per cent, on 1995.

Almost half of the £149 million allocated to science and technology for enterprise development came from the CSF. The investment generated a further £56 million in income earned by the agencies and departments involved.

A graph contained in the report shows public funding as a percentage of GDP remaining between one and 2 per cent for the past 10 years.

And a table published in the report shows Ireland coming second last in the EU in terms of government spending on science and technology. Only Greece rates lower than Ireland. However, the table is based on information for 1993, the latest year for which EU-wide data is available.

Direct government funding of third-level research in the science and engineering areas amounted to £8 million in 1996. This compares with £4.5 million in 1990, and £5 million last year.

Earned income accounted for 16 per cent of the total 1996 expenditure, a drop of four percentage points on last year.

The decline is due to the reduction in fees paid for third-level courses by students in 1996 as a result of the decision to abolish third level fees, the report points out.