Northern Ireland has historically performed poorly in business R&D expenditure compared to other parts of the UK, and it was in this context that Invest NI introduced the Grant for R&D programme in 2009 – to encourage Business Expenditure on Research and Development (BERD) and to increase the number of companies undertaking R&D activities.
ekosgen undertook an interim evaluation of the flagship £80m Grant for R&D programme in 2013/14. This involved a large-scale survey of grant recipient businesses, totalling 189 responses (30% of all recipients), the largest survey of its kind ever to be completed in Northern Ireland. These responses fed into a robust net impact assessment which displayed the net gain to the Northern Irish economy for every £1 of public monies invested. At the reporting stage, 11 detailed recommendations were developed for Invest NI as part of their forward Action Plan.