UK Statistics

Statistical bulletin: UK Business Enterprise Research and Development, 2011

Released: 20 November 2012 Download PDF


  • Key points
  • Overview
  • User engagement
  • R&D expenditure 2011
  • Expenditure by product group
  • Civil and defence expenditure, by broad product group
  • UK business R&D expenditure by industry
  • Employment on R&D performed in UK businesses
  • Regional breakdown of business R&D expenditure and employment
  • Sources of funds for R&D in UK businesses
  • Ownership of businesses who perform R&D in the UK
  • International comparisons
  • Background notes
  • Statistical contacts

Key points

  • In 2011, total business research and development (R&D) expenditure in the UK, in cash terms, increased by 8% to £17.4 billion, compared with 2010. In real terms, R&D expenditure increased by 6% compared to 2010.
  • The largest increases in R&D expenditure, in cash terms, were in computer programming and information service activities (£293 million; 19% increase), motor vehicles and parts (£288 million; 23% increase) and the pharmaceuticals industry (£169 million; 4% increase).
  • Defence R&D expenditure increased by 10% in 2011 to £1.8 billion. This was mainly driven by government awarded contracts to UK businesses to develop aircraft, naval ships, submarines and their systems and equipment.
  • Total R&D expenditure in 2011 represented 1.1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is in line with previous years.
  • For the first time, the ownership of businesses that perform R&D in the UK is split equally between foreign and UK owned companies.
Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.1.0.


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