IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Innovation policy in Ireland and Northern Ireland, 1991 to 2001 – the changing face of enterprise-level financial incentives for R&D


  • Nola Hewitt-Dundas


  • Bernadette Andreosso-O'Callaghan


  • Helena Lenihan



Systemic thinking on innovation policy highlights the breadth of policies which can influence innovation e.g. skills, inward investment, enterprise, regulation and competition policy. This suggests that innovation policy must be examined holistically, both in terms of the framework conditions to promote innovation as well as in terms of more targeted or specific policy to promote innovation at the enterprise level e.g. financial incentives to enterprises. It has been suggested that national innovation policy tends to reinforce the strengths of a countryÂ’s industrial system, particularly in relation to large firms and the promotion of R&D in core technologies and focuses less on innovation transfer which is often left to regional technological policy initiatives. In lagging regional economies, which are often dominated by SMEÂ’s, this presents specific challenges for innovation policy. This paper presents a comparative analysis of innovation policy at both the national and regional levels in Ireland and Northern Ireland respectively, over the 1990s. In both Ireland and Northern Ireland the period from 1991-99 was marked by expansion as measured by steady output growth for manufacturing as a whole (albeit at substantially lower levels in Northern Ireland than in Ireland). In Ireland this largely reflected rapid economic growth of output in the high-tech sectors, itself a consequence of inward investment and re-investment. Despite growth in gross expenditure on R&D over the 1990s closely related to output growth, IrelandÂ’s investment in R&D (at 0.95% of GNP) lags behind Slovenia, Norway, the UK, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Finland, Sweden, the US and Japan. This paper assesses the role of national innovation policy in Ireland and regional innovation policy in Northern Ireland. A number of issues are addressed, such as; to what extent did innovation policy in Ireland and Northern Ireland merely sustain prevailing economic strengths or was it instrumental in overcoming specific deficiencies in R&D investment and moulding current economic strengths? What effect does the underlying industrial structure have in shaping innovation policy in terms of industrial sectors, ownership and the size distribution of firms? What differences are evident between national innovation policy initiatives and regional innovation initiatives, particularly in a lagging region? Innovation policy is examined in terms of targeted assistance i.e. direct government financial support for business sector investment in R&D. This is based on a database of all grant offers (Northern Ireland) and payments (Ireland) made by the industrial development agencies in Ireland and Northern Ireland over the 1991 to 2001 period which was developed for this paper. The paper emphasises issues concerning the concentration of R&D investment, change in the balance between pre-competitive and near market R&D and the move towards financial incentives for innovation transfer of R&D.

Suggested Citation

  • Nola Hewitt-Dundas & Bernadette Andreosso-O'Callaghan & Helena Lenihan, 2005. "Innovation policy in Ireland and Northern Ireland, 1991 to 2001 – the changing face of enterprise-level financial incentives for R&D," ERSA conference papers ersa05p606, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa05p606

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen Roper, 2001. "Benchmarking Regional Innovation: A Comparison of Bavaria, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland," ERSA conference papers ersa01p39, European Regional Science Association.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Grace Tyng-Ruu Lin & Yo-Hsing Chang & Yung-Chi Shen, 2010. "Innovation policy analysis and learning: Comparing Ireland and Taiwan," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(7-8), pages 731-762, November.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa05p606. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gunther Maier). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.