Innovation Survey

The UK Innovation Survey is part of a wider European Community Innovation Survey providing a range of information related to innovation activity among enterprises, and including information on the extent of innovation activity and the impact of innovation on businesses.

UK Innovation Survey 2017: Northern Ireland Results

The most recent report presents results from the Northern Ireland element of the UK Innovation Survey (UKIS) 2017. This is the tenth such survey, and covers the three-year period from 2014 to 2016.

Headline Results 

  • In 2014-16, the number of Northern Ireland (NI) businesses that were innovation active was down when compared to 2012-14. This is a trend that occurs across the UK as all bar one region (the South West) also had a decrease in the number of businesses that were innovation active. 
  • Thirty nine per cent of enterprises in NI were estimated to be innovation active in the three year period 2014-16 (up from 40% in 2012-14).  This is lower than the equivalent UK figure of 49% (down from 53% in 2012-14).
  • At 39%, NI was estimated to be the least innovation active country in the UK, whilst a comparison with Great Britain (GB) regions showed NI had moved from the second least innovation active in 2012 - 2014 to the least innovative in 2014 - 2016.
  • In NI, large enterprises with 250 or more employees were more likely to engage in some sort of innovation activity with 58% estimated to be innovation active, compared to 44% of SMEs. The same was true in the UK as a whole where 63% of large enterprises were innovation active compared to 49% of UK SMEs.
  • The difference between the proportions of enterprises that were product innovators in NI (17%) and the UK (24%) and process innovators (NI: 10%, UK: 16%) during 2014-16, remained similar compared to 2012-14.
  • Manufacture of electrical and optical equipment had the highest proportion of innovation active enterprises (74%) followed by motion picture and video production (71%),   Construction has the least number of innovation active enterprises in NI at 23 per cent (down from 45 per cent in 2012-14).
  • The most commonly reported innovation investments were in the acquisitions of computer software, followed by investment in internal R&D.
  • Replacing outdated products or processes was the main factor driving innovation in NI and the UK as a whole.  Enterprises reporting no innovation were the most likely to respond that there was no need due to market conditions.

Current publication

Archive data

Northern Ireland Innovation Survey 2006 

This NI-only Innovation Survey covered the period 2003-2005, and among other things, collected information on the extent of business innovation, factors perceived to be limiting innovation, and co-operation arrangements on innovation activities.

By adopting similar methodologies as those used in the fourth Community Innovation Survey (UKIS 2005), the survey offers a time-series for 2002-2004 and 2003-2005 regional innovation activity.