Northern Ireland is the only region of the UK where the number of jobs dedicated to research and development (R&D) is falling, according to analysis by innovation funding specialists Catax.
The number of R&D jobs in Northern Ireland fell for the first time on record in the first year of the pandemic, sinking 11.1% from 9,000 in 2019 to 8,000 in 2020, the latest ONS data reveals.
R&D jobs are an important indicator of future economic growth, particularly when it comes to industries reliant on innovation. These roles stimulate economic activity and often lead to the creation of more skilled jobs locally.
Lack of innovation reduces overall prosperity and leaves areas more vulnerable to economic shocks such as inflation, currency fluctuations, recessions and rises in the cost of living.
Northern Ireland’s R&D jobs represent 2.8% of the UK total — slightly higher than its 2.6% share in 2010. The total has doubled in number from 4,000 a decade ago.