Research and development spending hits record high

Spending on research and development across Scotland has hit a record high, new figures indicate.

The latest Scottish Government statistics on business, enterprise, research and development (Berd) show £1.25 billion was spent on this in 2017.

This marks the highest expenditure since the start of the series in 2001 and a 13.9% increase on the previous year, outstripping the UK increase of 2.9%.

Research and development spending in Scotland was 5.3% of the total UK spend of £23.7 billion last year.

North of the border, the investment was mainly split between manufacturing products at £594 million – 47.6% of the total – and services products at £560 million, 44.9% of the total.

Product groups categorised as “other”, such as extractive industries, comprised the remaining 7.5%.

Services products had the highest increase in research and development investment in the year, up by £180 million (47.7%), while spending on manufacturing products fell by £7.4 million (1.2%) and expenditure on products in the “other” category fell by £20.1 million (17.6%).

Research and development staff also hit a record high, rising by 5% to 13,178 between 2016 and 2017.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: “Investment in research and development in Scotland has been particularly impressive.

“Over £1.2 billion was spent on R&D by businesses in Scotland last year, which is a sizeable 13.9% increase in real terms from 2016 and a 93.6% increase when compared to 2007 levels.”