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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Innovation in Irish Enterprises


Type of Innovation expenditure by enterprises1 2012, 2014 and 2016
 2012201420162012 - 20162014 - 2016
 €m€m€mPercentage change (%)
In-house Research and Development1,861.41,881.92,174.416.815.5
Purchase of external Research and Development525.3373.3619.117.965.9
Acquisition of machinery, equipment and software921.71,239.21,441.156.416.3
Acquisition of other external knowledge236.8229.3138.2-41.6-39.7
All other innovation activities109.169.3243.4123.1251.0
Total innovation expenditure3,654.23,793.04,616.326.321.7
1 Enterprises with 10 or more employed in Industry and Selected Services sectors.

Total spending on innovation activities in Ireland during 2016 increased by almost 22% to €4.6 billion

Figure 1: Percentage share of innovation expenditure by type, 2014 and 2016
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The total spend on innovation activities in Ireland was €4.6bn in 2016, a 22% increase on the 2014 figure of €3.8bn. The main driver for this increase was a 15.5% rise in expenditure for in-house Research and Development (R&D) from €1.9bn in 2014 to €2.2bn in 2016. This was the highest share of spend and accounted for 47% of all innovative expenditure.

Acquisition of machinery, equipment and software at €1.44bn represented 31% of total spend.

The acquisition of external R&D at €619m represented 13% of total spend. This involves 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) as those enterprises who confirmed they had innovative activity, their spend represented 1.6% of their turnover and this low expenditure level can lead to volatility in the results over time. See Figure 1 and Headline table.

Industrial enterprises spend on machinery, equipment and software accounted for a quarter of total innovation expenditure

Of the total spend of €4.6bn by enterprises on innovation activities, the Industrial sector accounted for €2.7bn compared to €1.9bn for the Selected Services.  

Industrial sector enterprises spent €1,119m on machinery, equipment and software amounting to almost a quarter, 24.2%, of total innovation expenditure. Investment in in-house R&D amounted to  €1,069m followed by €421m on external R&D,  €42m on acquisition of external knowledge and €91m on all other innovation activities.

Selected Services sector enterprises spent €1,105m on in-house R&D and €322m on machinery, equipment and software. A further €198m was spent on external R&D, €97m on acquisition of external knowledge, and €153m on all other innovation activities. See Table 1.