Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (234)

Richard Bruton

Question:

375 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the total State expenditure on research and development and on science and technology in each year since 1997; the way in which it is distributed across the main economic sectors; and the main criteria of evaluation used for approving research programmes and the systems for ex post evaluation against critical performance indicators. [25131/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment)

In response to the first part of the Deputy's question, the following statistical tables provide the main sectoral breakdown of science and technology expenditure. The table is compiled from Forfás statistical data produced in the context of the Forfás publication entitled State Expenditure on Science and Technology, otherwise known as the science budget. A range of more detailed statistical analyses are available in the Forfás publication.

Current prices Table 1: Total State Expenditure on R&D, 1997- 2003, €m

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

195.8

209.1

248.9

318.5

378.3

391.2

450.8

Table 2: Total State Expenditure on R&D broken down by socio-economic objectives, 1997-2002, €m

Socio-economic objectives

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

Exploration and exploitation of the earth

0.8

1.0

1.0

1.3

11.4

2.8

Infrastructure and general planning of land-use

5.0

6.2

6.1

3.4

10.1

8.2

Control and care of the environment

3.9

3.6

3.6

4.6

6.4

10.5

Protection and improvement of human health

5.2

6.5

7.4

12.6

15.3

19.8

Production, distribution and rational utilisation of energy

0.3

0.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Agricultural production and technology

57.5

44.1

51.1

47.4

88.3

79.8

Industrial production and technology

58.6

62.8

76.3

69.6

58.1

54.0

Social structures and relationships

10.4

9.9

10.7

12.6

15.3

17.8

Research financed from general university funds (GUF)

44.4

51.3

60.4

63.3

69.2

81.2

Non-oriented research

9.8

23.5

32.3

103.8

104.3

117.2

Total

195.8

209.1

248.9

318.5

378.3

391.2

Table 3: Total State Expenditure on Science and Technology, 1997- 2003, €m

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

929

1,124

1,159

1,360

1,693

1,784

1,778

With regard to the criteria for the evaluation of research programmes, a range of different approaches are employed by the implementing agencies under the aegis of my Department as follows: Science Foundation Ireland, SFI, utilises a rigorous international peer review process as its method of evaluation of research projects submitted in response to its calls for proposals. In terms of ex post evaluation, SFI's terms and conditions require that a detailed annual report outlining progress on the research project be prepared by the research body or principal investigator and submitted to SFI for examination. Additionally, SFI carries out site visits in advance of the annual report process. Each project is measured against agreed performance indicators and progress recorded.

Turning to research funding delivered through Enterprise Ireland and the other industrial development agencies which is provided on the basis of criteria set out in a number of schemes established under a general framework set out in the Industrial Development Acts, these schemes are part of the productive sector operational programme, PSOP, under which they are continuously monitored and evaluated against established performance indicators. A mid-term evaluation of the PSOP was completed and published in late 2003.

Working in conjunction with Forfás, my Department also sponsors independent evaluations of key research programmes. Such evaluations are undertaken on a regular basis as a way of assessing performance in the context of overall policy development and providing a basis for any necessary adjustment. During the course of 2004 it is intended to complete evaluations of a number of Enterprise Ireland's collaborative and applied research programmes. These individual evaluations will provide input to a review of applied research being undertaken by the Department under the established expenditure review process overseen by the Department of Finance. This review is scheduled for completion early in the new year.

A review of the outcomes arising from Ireland's participation in the European Space Agency will also be completed shortly. In addition, an overall evaluation of Science Foundation Ireland will shortly commence. This evaluation is expected to be completed during the first half of 2005.