Scots R&D spending tops £1bn for first time

Scottish Enterprise HQ

Spending on business research and development in Scotland exceeded £1 billion in 2016 for the first time ever, according to data published by Scotland’s Chief Statistician.

The report shows Business Enterprise Research & Development (BERD) spend was £1.072 billion in 2016 — an increase of £98 million.

It shows BERD employment in Scotland is at a record high of almost 12,000 jobs and that Scotland outperformed the UK over the year with 10.1% growth in BERD spend versus 3.3%.

Since 2007, Scotland’s BERD spend has risen by around 69% in real terms, whereas UK spend increased by 22% over the same period.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown welcomed the figures in the Business Enterprise Research and Development (BERD) Scotland 2016 report.

Brown said: “This is great news for Scotland’s economy.

“It shows that Scotland’s businesses are embracing innovation and the measures we have taken to increase business investment in research and development are paying off.

“The improvements we have made, and continue to make, to our innovation system are having an impact with Scotland outperforming the UK in terms of BERD spend growth.

“This complements wider innovation statistics which show that Scotland’s number of innovation-active businesses has increased hugely over the last few years, matching the performance of the top quartile of EU member states.

“We know we have long way to go however, our ambition for improvement continues and this is why we increased funding for business research and development by £45 million over the next three years from 2018/19, with the view to doubling BERD by 2025.”

Jim Watson, director of Innovation and Enterprise Services at Scottish Enterprise, added: “Hitting £1 billion business R&D investment is fantastic news for Scotland.

“We’ve been working hard to get more companies innovating and investing in R&D, and this approach is clearly working from the data announced today.

“These figures echo the excellent results we’re seeing from the companies we work alongside, and also reflect the EY Attractiveness Survey 2017 which recognises Scotland as the UK leader in attracting foreign direct investment for R&D projects.”