Britain records highest ever spending on R&D

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London, March 19 (IANS) Annual spending on research and development (R&D) in Britain has reached an all-time high, exceeding more than $44 billion, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Businesses in Britain were the biggest performers in R&D of any sector. In 2014, they accounted for 65 percent of the total spend at $29 billion, a 6 percent increase over the previous year, ONS said on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

But even with the new record, Britain’s R&D spending as a percentage of GDP is 1.67 percent. This is against an EU average of 2.03 percent and an EU target of 3 percent of GDP.

Finland (3.17 percent) tops the Euro table having already exceeded, along with Sweden (3.16 percent) and Denmark (3.08 percent) the EU target.

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Currently, Britain is in 11th place in the list of GDP spend on R&D in EU countries, behind its industrial rivals such as Germany (2.84 percent) and France (2.26 percent). Romania rounds up the list spending 0.38 percent of its GDP on R&D.

Within the business sector, the pharmaceutical industry was the biggest spender on research at $5.64 billion followed by computer programming and information services ($3.48 billion), the auto industry $3.33 billion, and aerospace at spent, $2.5 billion.

The higher education sector, which includes universities and higher education institutes, was the second biggest spender on research, accounting for 26 percent of the total or $11.4 billion.

Across Britain the South East and East of England, continued to dominate R&D activity accounting for 39 percent of total R& D expenditure ($17.2 billion).

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