Surge in R&D spend between 2015 and '17
Almost €2.8bn was spent on research and development (R&D) by businesses in Ireland in each of 2017 and 2018 - up 24pc from two years earlier.
In 2017, Irish-owned enterprises reported an increase in R&D spend of 6pc to €859m - from €810m in 2015 when then Finance Minister Michael Noonan introduced tax breaks for R&D known as the Knowledge Development Box.
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The latest data, based on a survey by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) includes estimates for spending last year that indicate a tapering off with investment rising only slightly between 2017 and 2018.
Firms employing 250 or more account for almost two thirds of R&D expenditure as big businesses dominated investment. The 2017 figures show labour costs accounted for 60pc of all R&D spend.
However, firms with fewer than 50 staff still spent almost €425m, reflecting the emergence of a cohort of smaller, often indigenous, research-led businesses backed by venture capital which, in some cases, is now being attracted at scale.
In March, Irish scientist Nora Khaldi of Dublin-based biotech company Nuritas delivered a keynote address at the European Investment Bank's Venture Debt Conference in Luxembourg, after last year securing €30m to support development of artificial intelligence and DNA analysis for applications in healthcare.