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The release of new data showing a significant jump in the amount spent by Kiwi companies on research and development (R&D) is a sign of the confidence businesses have in themselves and the New Zealand economy, says Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith.

“This is an important survey as it is 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,” says Minister Goldsmith.

The 2016 Research and Development Survey, which measures the level of business, government and higher education R&D activity in New Zealand, was released today by Statistics New Zealand and showed business R&D expenditure has increased 29 per cent from 2014 to $1.6 billion in 2016, up $356 million from 2014.

“This is a significant step in the right direction. Callaghan Innovation’s grants and research expertise were designed to stimulate businesses to fund their own R&D activities and these figures are tangible evidence that the initiative is working.”

Total expenditure on R&D has increased 20 per cent in the same period, totalling $3.2 billion in 2016.

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.

“R&D is crucial for creating a strong and diversified economy and these are encouraging numbers as they show real progress towards the Government’s vision for R&D growth in the comprehensive Business Growth Agenda and the National Statement of Science Investment.”

“The Government will continue to implement our strong economic plan, to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared, delivering more jobs, higher wages, and more opportunities for Kiwis and their families,” Mr Goldsmith says.

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