Northern Ireland saw the highest ever total R&D spend in 2012, rising 10pc from stg£568m in 2011 to stg£624m in 2012.
Businesses within Northern Ireland increased expenditure in R&D, which has now reached a record high of stg£461m, an increase of 19pc over the year.
Referring to the fact that total R&D expenditure for SMEs increased by stg£32m (23pc) from 2011 to stg£173m in 2012, in cash terms, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said: “Since 2007, SME R&D expenditure has increased by 47pc and it is encouraging to see an increase of 23pc over the year in the total R&D expenditure for SMEs.
“Although our largest firms inevitably undertake much of the business R&D in our economy, our SMEs can be amongst the greatest innovators. This is hugely impressive given the challenging trading conditions companies are facing. It is also testament to the continued commitment by the NI Executive to prioritising innovation and R&D as a key driver of economic growth,” she added.
“Forward-thinking companies recognise that investment in R&D places them in a strong position to exploit future opportunities. Northern Ireland has some outstanding R&D-intensive firms across its key sectors and we must continue to build on this.”