Members of the NIABT recently joined the Assembly’s Enterprise, Trade and Investment (ETI) Committee and the Engineering Policy Group Northern Ireland to host an important event highlighting the importance of Research and Development (R&D) to the local economy.
Capitalising on the ETI Committee’s recent report “Developing the Northern Ireland Economy through Innovation, Research and Development”, the event attracted a number of high profile speakers from the worlds of academia, commerce and industry. Key considerations included the economic importance of an enhanced strategy for R&D in Northern Ireland and on what can be done to plan for a more flexible science, technology, engineering and mathematics trained workforce.
Chairperson of the ETI Committee Patsy McGlone MLA outlined how the recent Treasury consultation on rebalancing our economy noted the particularly low-level of business expenditure on R&D, and how we compare to other small economies throughout Europe.
Mr McGlone noted that, over the past five years, business expenditure on R&D in Northern Ireland has averaged 0.69% of Gross Value Added (GVA) compared to 1.23% for the UK. In 2009, just ten Northern Ireland companies accounted for 57% of the Northern Ireland R&D expenditure.
NIABT Members heard how the Northern Ireland Assembly is trying to increase our levels of innovation and R&D by advocating greater use of existing opportunities and improving structures, which can then provide increased levels of support for innovation.
Further information on the ETI Committee Report “Developing the Northern Ireland Economy through Innovation, Research and Development” can be found on the Northern Ireland Assembly website.