Thursday, 31 January 2019

Ceisteanna (19)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

19. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the findings by the EU Research and Innovation Observatory (details supplied) that Ireland is below the European average for research and development spending; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4565/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Ireland has developed a reputation for excellence in R&D. Overall expenditure on R&D in Ireland has been increasing steadily since 2012 and is estimated to have reached almost €3.4 billion in 2017, the highest figure on record.

In 2011, under the European Commission’s Europe 2020 agenda, Ireland committed to raise gross investment in R&D to 2.5% of GNP by 2020. We reiterated this commitment as one of our key measurements in Innovation 2020.

The details supplied by the Deputy are based on recent figures published by Eurostat. The Gross Expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP intensity rate of 1.05% of GDP for 2017 is calculated using preliminary figures for Business Expenditure on R&D and Higher Education Expenditure on R&D. Updated surveys on both are due to be published later this year from the CSO and my Department respectively and will give the full picture on R&D expenditure for 2017. It should be noted that the Eurostat report uses GDP rather than GNP as the basis for comparison across the EU. Our current estimate for R&D investment in 2017 is 1.46% of GNP, as per my Department’s latest R&D Budget publication.

It is important to acknowledge that Ireland continues to perform well in international studies – we rose to 9th in the 2018 European Innovation Scoreboard. In the European Innovation Scoreboard 2018, Ireland remains in the category of “Strong Innovator” and has moved up a place to 9th in the EU. Ireland is placed first in three out of the ten dimensions considered - innovative SMEs, employment in knowledge-intensive activities and sales due to innovation activities. Ireland is ranked higher than 12 other member states that invest a higher amount of public funds as a percentage of GDP.

Ireland has also retained 10th place in the Global Innovation Index, out of 126 countries assessed.