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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Innovation in Irish Enterprises


Type of Innovation expenditure by enterprises, 2016 and 2018
 €m€mPercentage change
In-house Research and Development2,174.43,031.139.4%
Purchase of external Research and Development619.1853.337.8%
Acquisition of machinery, equipment and software1,441.11,126.5-21.8%
Acquisition of other external knowledge138.2185.033.8%
All other innovation activities243.4258.96.4%
Total innovation expenditure14,616.35,454.818.2%
1 Expenditure for enterprises with 10 or more employed in Industry and Selected Services sectors.

Total spending on innovation activities in Ireland during 2018 increased by 18.2% to €5.45 billion

Figure 1: Percentage share of innovation expenditure by type, 2016 and 2018
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The total spend on innovation activities in Ireland was almost €5.5bn in 2018, an increase of 18.2% on the 2016 figure of €4.6bn. The main driver for this increase was a 39.4% rise in expenditure for in-house Research and Development (R&D) from €2.2bn in 2016 to €3.0bn in 2018. This was the highest share of spend and accounted for 55.6% of all innovative expenditure.

Acquisition of machinery, equipment and software at €1.1bn represented 20.7% of total spend.

The acquisition of external R&D at €853.3m represented 15.6% of total spend. This involved enterprises contracting-out R&D to public or private research organisations or to other enterprises.

Please note, care should be taken in interpreting the results from the Community Innovation Survey (published as Innovation in Irish Enterprises). The spend of those enterprises who confirmed they had innovation activity represents 2.8% of their turnover. This low expenditure level can lead to volatility in results over time. See Figure 1 and Headline table.

Service enterprises' spend on in-house R&D accounted for 41.0% of total innovation expenditure

Of the total spend of €5.45bn by enterprises on innovation activities, selected Services accounted for €3.0bn compared to €2.4bn for the Industrial sector.  

Selected Services sector enterprises spent €2.2bn on in-house R&D, amounting to 41.0% of total innovation expenditure. Acquisition of machinery, equipment and software came to €269.5m, followed by €212.7m on external R&D, €148.6m on acquisition of external knowledge and €192.4m on all other innovation activities.

Industry sector enterprises spent €857.0m on machinery, equipment and software and €796.2m on in-house R&D. A further €640.6m was spent on external R&D, €36.4m on acquisition of external knowledge, and €66.4m on all other innovation activities. See Table 1.

The time period reported in this release (2016-2018) is before the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The CSO understands the severe difficulties now being faced by respondents to our business surveys and that filling in survey forms may not be a priority at present. However, it is by collecting survey information that we will be able to report on the effects of COVID-19 on our economy and society.  Insofar as possible, we are continuing to collect survey information from businesses, so that we can provide statistics that show the changing situation from March 2020 onwards. We appreciate the ongoing support of our business survey respondents and understand the difficulties faced by all.