Record growth for UK R&D

According to the Department of Trade & Industry, R&D is thriving in the UK with 100 more mid-sized UK companies spending over £300,000 on R&D than last year.


The number of very R&D intensive, mid-sized UK companies has increased by more than 75% over the past four years, plus there are 100 more UK companies spending over £300,000 on R&D than last year according to the Department of Trade and Industry’s annual ‘Research and Development Scoreboard’ published yesterday.



The DTI says the R&D Scoreboard is the world’s only comprehensive international league table of R&D active companies and this year was the most detailed to date.



The Scoreboard revealed the business climate for the world’s top 1000 companies has improved over the last year with overall increases in sales growth, profitability and R&D.



Large foreign-owned companies are increasingly recognising the UK as a supportive base for R&D. Twelve of the top 17 foreign-owned UK companies analysed have much larger R&D intensity than their parent companies, investing a high proportion of their global R&D effort in the UK.



The UK software industry stands out as a leading sector with 117 of the UK’s top 750 R&D companies and a contribution of 5.2% of total R&D investment. The pharmaceutical sector also increased its levels of R&D by 4% over the past 12 months.



In addition to nurturing a business climate conducive to advances in R&D and increases in overall sales growth and profitability, the UK has seen a significant growth of over 75% in middle sized, very R&D intensive companies for the period 2001-2005.



‘’It is encouraging that R&D-intensive middle sized companies are now found, not just in the sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, health and software, where the UK is traditionally strong, but also in IT hardware and electronic & electrical sectors where the UK’s presence has previously been low,” said Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Sainsbury.



This year’s R&D Scoreboard is the most comprehensive to date and looked at data for the top 750 UK and top 1000 global R&D investing companies, an increase of 50 and 300 companies respectively on last year. The international benchmarking tool helps companies determine if they are investing in R&D at the right level, in comparison to their competitors.


The Scoreboard also highlights those sectors in which the UK needs to maintain its leading position, and others where the UK should be looking to improve.