Research and Development spending in Scotland rises by more than three times that of UK in ten years of SNP administration

From Insider business online magazine based on a Business Enterprise Research and Development Scotland 2016 report:

Figures for 2016 show Scotland’s R&D spend hit £1.072bn with manufacturing making up more than half the total and the services industry another third.

The R&D spend is dominated by manufacturing (£592 million), followed by the services industry (£366 million) and ‘other’ product groups such as agriculture, waste management and the oil and gas sector (£114 million).’

In the ten years of SNP government, Scotland’s R&D spend has increased by 69% in real terms while that of the UK, as a whole, has only risen by 22%.  Does this contribute to an explanation for the steady flow of good news stories about the Scottish economy recently? See:

Scotland’s economy continues to show signs of good health and growth

Reports of a strong Scottish economy just keep coming. Now debt decrees down 93% in the last three months

More evidence Scottish economy is strong: Demand for office space in Glasgow highest for ten years

Clear signs of a robust economy? 15% increase in Edinburgh office take-up in 2017 and Glasgow set for a ‘stellar 12 months.’

Scottish businesses continue to show signs of health with insolvencies down 23% as the Scottish economy holds strong

Note that Insider is reporting only on private sector, Business-funded, R&D from Business Enterprise Research and Development Scotland 2016 at:

However, we know that from the Space Race through the development of microelectronics, the Internet and the massive costs of defence R&D that government investment has often been the basis for development which corporations have then exploited and there are reports of similar processes in Scotland. See, for example:

‘University of Dundee is UK’s highest ranked institution for influencing innovation’

As Scottish Oil and Gas moves into a third wave of prosperity, Scottish Government funding for innovation is increased

Is a revolution in sustainable transport about to begin in Grangemouth? A professor says: ‘I’m not sure I could have done this anywhere else in the world other than Scotland.’


See the 2015 graph, above, illustrating the relative R&D spend by Business (BERD), Higher Education (HERD), Government (GovERD) and Private Non-profit Sectors (PNP). Remember, much of the HERD figure comes in the form of government grants and is of course subsidised by government-funded building and other infrastructure, staffing costs and even student-fee income. University-funding for teaching is higher than that for Further Education colleges essentially because universities are expected to teach within a research culture where all staff are research-active.


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