Northern Ireland is one of the fastest growing knowledge-based economies in the UK, research revealed.
Levels of research and development, the number of innovative start ups and patent registrations are increasing rapidly, according to the 2014 Knowledge Economy Index.
The sector has grown by more than a third in the last five years, at a time when economic conditions have been the most challenging, the report said.
Steve Orr published the research.
He said: “It is critical that the knowledge economy business sector throughout Northern Ireland supports the Innovation Strategy and feeds back to our political representatives the kinds of policies and actions they can take to support Northern Ireland innovation on a global scale.
“We cannot afford to be inward looking if we want to grow more world-class companies and build for the future with the amazing talent we have in this country.”
Produced by the Northern Ireland Centre for Economic Policy at the University of Ulster in conjunction with Oxford Economics, the report analyses the published data on 21 indicators including employment, salaries, venture capital investment, research and development; start-ups, PhDs and patent registrations that shows the growth in the North East of England and Northern Ireland significantly ahead of the next two regions, the West Midlands and Scotland.
Mr Orr is director of Northern Ireland Science Park Connect, an independent, non-profit organisation that supports the development of innovative technologies.
He said “the best option for global export growth is in knowledge economy based companies”, but cautioned against complacency.