A third of Northern Ireland businesses are engaging in innovation

  • Around a third of businesses (32%) in Northern Ireland have engaged in innovation between 2016-2018, but this figure is a decline from previous years.

    This is compared with 39% in 2014-2016, and 45% in 2012-2014, according to results from NISRA, ONS and The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

    The UK Innovation Survey 2019 is part of a wider Community Innovation Survey (CIS) covering a range of European countries.

    This is the eleventh iteration of the survey covering the period 2016-2018, providing information on the extent of business innovation, factors perceived to be limiting innovation, and the impact of innovation on businesses.

    The 2019 survey sampled enterprises with 10 or more employees across a range of sectors including production and construction, and distribution and services.

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    There has been a reported decrease in innovation activity across all regions of the UK between 2014-2016 and 2016-2018.

    Across the UK, the percentage of innovation active businesses ranged from 32% in NI and Scotland to 40% in both the South East and South West of England.

    As is the case across the UK, a higher proportion of large companies (with more than 250 employees) in NI were innovation active (51%) than small and medium companies (SMEs: 10-249 employees, 32%).

    The levels of innovation activity among large businesses in Northern Ireland were comparable with those among large businesses in the UK in 2016-2018. In contrast, innovation among SMEs tended to be lower in NI than was the case among SMEs in the UK overall (32% and 37% respectively).

    Innovation activity was higher among businesses in Production and Construction industries than in Distribution and Service industries in 2016-2018 (39% compared with 29%).

    The most commonly reported innovation investment was in the acquisition of computer software (which was also the most common type of investment in 2014-2016) followed by internal R&D.

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    Source: Written from press release

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