The 2016 Research and Development Survey, which measures the level of business, government and higher education R&D activity in New Zealand, shows business research and development expenditure increased 29 per cent from 2014 to $1.6 billion in 2016, up $356 million.
Total expenditure on R&D increased 20 per cent in the same period, totalling $3.2 billion in 2016.
The data were welcomed by Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith as a sign of the confidence businesses have in themselves and the New Zealand economy.
He said this was an important survey because it was the first to fully capture the impact of the work the Government is doing through Callaghan Innovation and the R&D grants programme to support lifting business spending on R&D.
Callaghan Innovation’s grants and research expertise have been designed to stimulate businesses to fund their own R&D activities. The figures from Statistics New Zealand “are tangible evidence that the initiative is working”, Goldsmith said.
The 2016 Research and Development Survey also reports that:
- The services and manufacturing sectors led the growth in business R&D up 32 and 29 per cent respectively. From the service sector, the computer services industry grew 40 per cent from 2014.
- R&D spend is growing faster than the rest of the economy.
- The number of researchers involved in R&D in New Zealand has increased by 2,900 to 54,500 people.
- 85 per cent of businesses undertaking R&D activity expected the future R&D spending to stay the same or increase.
The survey also highlighted a significant increase in international investment in New Zealand R&D – up 37 per cent to $265 million in 2016.