I presume the Deputy is referring to Ireland’s R&D intensity target which is for Gross Expenditure on R&D (public and private) to reach 2.5% of GNP by 2020.
Notwithstanding that we have increased both public and private R&D spending in recent years, Ireland’s R&D intensity rate (R&D budget as a percentage of GNP) was estimated at 1.43% of GNP in 2016. The recent fall has been due, in part, to the increase in GNP, which was particularly strong in 2015. While Ireland has not yet reached its 2020 target, it is worth noting only 2 of the EU27 countries have reached their targets as per latest figures.
The CSO introduced a new indicator in July 2017 (modified GNI or GNI*) designed to exclude globalisation effects that disproportionately impact the measurement of the size of the Irish economy. When using GNI* as a complementary indicator, the R&D intensity rate is estimated at 1.72% for 2016.
The NDP indicative allocation of €9.4 billion for the National Strategic Outcome “A Strong Economy, supported by Enterprise, Innovation and Skills” to be invested by my Department and the Department of Education and Skills, is very welcome. It will support the delivery of key strategic investment priorities, including a Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, expansion of advanced manufacturing supports, new cycles for the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions, expanding Enterprise Ireland’s budget for R&D and strengthening SFI Research Centres and Enterprise Ireland / IDA Technology Centres in higher education in all regions. While the precise timing of the rollout of the above initiatives has yet to be finalised, in time, this investment will play a key role in facilitating Ireland reaching its R&D intensity target.