The annual report, which was published in collaboration with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), took data on spending from the 850 UK companies most active in R&D and the 1400 most active companies globally.
The results showed that the
Science and innovation minister, Lord Drayson, said: ‘The pleasing growth in R&D investment by
‘The future commercial success of
According to the survey, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector was the largest overall investor in the
Companies in the
UK R&D increased by six per cent, largely due to increased spending in the oil and gas production, software and computer services and pharmaceutical and banking sectors.
In response to the report, David Kingham, chairman of the R&D society, said: ‘The overall rise in R&D expenditure by the top 850 UK companies of six per cent to £21.6bn is welcome news, and shows continued confidence in UK companies of the value of R&D to their businesses.
‘The news that the top 88 UK companies, which also rank in the top 1,400 global investors of R&D, increased their R&D investment by 10.3 per cent, is offset by the scoreboard’s findings that the remaining companies outside the top 88 grew their R&D by just 1.2 per cent - a fall in real terms.
‘It is not clear from the scoreboard whether this reflects cuts in R&D activity or smarter spending by these companies, increasing their R&D efficiency.
‘Given that these figures are from a period prior to the current recession, we urge the government to keep a close eye on the R&D activities of UK companies and maintain and improve their efforts to support UK R&D.’
With pressure on the government to maintain R&D in the economic downturn, the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) has also urged ministers to do more to promote science and engineering in the
In a statement, the SBAC said: ‘Current science and engineering policy is at best patchy and there needs to be more emphasis on the benefits that science and engineering bring to the
Ian Godden, chief executive of the SBAC, said: ‘Practical ways in which to achieve the vital aim of boosting science and engineering include greater funding for teaching these subjects, incentives for schools and colleges to work closely with local industry and ensuring that the secondary school curriculum does not lose the focus on the practical applications of these subjects.
‘Working more closely with industry would also assist the government in achieving this aim as well as helping it formulate more effective policies on these subjects.
‘A national strategy for science and engineering would ensure that initiatives are focused around the nation's needs and funded appropriately.’