Investment in research and development is to exceed €1.5bn for the first time, it was revealed today.
According to the Department of Enterprise, spending on R&D in 2005 increased by 10% to reach €1.33bn and it is set to increase by another 17% to €1.56bn when 2006 figures are completed.
Minister for Enterprise Micheal Martin said such high levels of investment were vital for the growth of the economy.
“It is critical that our manufacturing and business enterprises invest as never before in the knowledge and skill enhancing activities that will underpin their competitive position into the future”, the Minister said.
“The level of increased investment in R&D is a very important indicator that Ireland is making tangible progress towards becoming a knowledge-based economy.”
The Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation funded as part of the National Development Plan set an ambitious target to grow R&D spending from €1bn in 2003 to €2.5bn by 2013.
And with the latest jump in spending that target looks set to be met.
Mr Martin noted some of the firms who made major investments in their R&D departments.
He said in 2006 there was high quality inward investment by Amgen, Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, PepsiCo and Servier.
And indigenous companies were also beginning to recognise the value of R&D, as more than 550 companies invested €100,000 or more and major investments were announced by companies ranging from Dawn Farm Foods, Qumas and Foamalite.
“The growing investment in research across the system is setting up opportunities for collaboration and sustained development. This will result in greater returns on all our investment,” the Minister said.