Knowledge Economy key driver of economic growth

Date published: 22 September 2015

Finance Minister Arlene Foster MLA says Northern Ireland’s Knowledge Economy is key to economic growth and prosperity.

The Minister was speaking at today’s launch of the 2015 Knowledge Economy Index Report, commissioned by Northern Ireland Science Park CONNECT. The Report provides a barometer of how Northern Ireland’s Knowledge Economy (KE) is performing by analysing the published data on 21 indicators including employment, salaries, venture capital investment, research and development, start-ups, PhDs and patent registrations.

The Minister said: “The findings of this year’s Report clearly demonstrate how the Knowledge Economy is a key driver of economic growth and prosperity. Growing the Knowledge Economy will be crucial to achieving our longer term economic goals of a rebalanced economy with a larger private sector.”

Arlene Foster added: “Northern Ireland continues to be the second fastest growing Knowledge Economy in the UK. It is also encouraging to see that Northern Ireland is reportedly above target in the amount of business expenditure in R&D, business start-ups and the number of R&D personnel. Such performance certainly provides a solid foundation for future growth.”

Turning to the role of the NI Science Park the Minister said: “The Science Park plays a key role in developing the knowledge based economy here in Northern Ireland, providing a hub through which to nurture and support knowledge and innovation. The Executive is committed to continuing to support its development and the recent £6.4million expansion plans for the Science Park will provide an additional 60,000 sq feet of workspace. This will be in a high quality built, logistic environment which aims to make it easy for knowledge based companies to turn innovation into new and dynamic businesses.”

In conclusion the Minister said: “While there is much to be encouraged about, it is also clear from the Report that the potential is there for the local Knowledge Economy to contribute much more and for Northern Ireland to climb the regional league table. I have every confidence, with continued effort and innovative thinking as well as continued support from government we will see our Knowledge Economy grow.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. Key findings of the report include:
  • 10% of NI Economy is now driven by Knowledge Economy
  • KE salaries 50% higher than average
  • 85% of Knowledge Economy sales are outside NI
  • 410 Knowledge Economy Start-up businesses created
  • NI second fastest growing UK KE Region – second year running

2. Media enquiries only to DFP Communications Office on 028 9081 6724 or 028 9081 6725. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

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