Research and Development

The Northern Ireland Research & Development Survey provides information on the level of R&D activity in Northern Ireland.


The 2019 Research and Development (R&D) Survey results indicate that £881.4 million (m) was spent on Research & Development in Northern Ireland in 2019. Of the £881.4m, £630.1m (71.5%) was spent by Businesses, £221.6m (25.1%) by Higher Education establishments and £29.7m (3.4%) by Government departments.

Latest results – published 8th December 2020

  • In 2019, £881.4m was spent on Research & Development (R&D) by Businesses, Higher Education and Government in Northern Ireland (NI). This is an increase of £87.7m in cash terms over the year.
  • Business R&D spend increased by £81.3m; Government R&D spend also increased by £6.9m and Higher Education R&D spend reduced by £0.5m from 2018 to 2019.

  • There was a 1.0% increase in the number companies engaged in business R&D over the year (from 956 in 2018 to 966 in 2019). The ten biggest spending companies accounted for almost one third of all R&D spend in Northern Ireland in 2019.
  • 95.4% of all R&D spend in 2019 in NI was in-house R&D work. The remaining 4.6% of spend was purchased R&D.  The majority of in-house R&D spend was self-funded within the company (64.7%)

  • In 2019, in-house business expenditure on R&D (BERD) equated to 1.4% of GVA.
  • In 2019, there were 9,170 full-time equivalents (FTEs) working in R&D related roles in NI; 39.6% worked as researchers; 27.4% as technicians and 33.0% were other staff.
  • Externally owned companies accounted for 53.0% of R&D expenditure compared to 47.0% of locally owned companies in 2019.

Current publication 

Archive data and quality report


Most recent documents

Contacts for Research and Development

Research and Development

Aaron Maguire
Telephone: 028 9052 9436
Twitter: @NISRA