Research Report

Assessing the business growth and productivity effects of Invest NI and UKRI grant support for R&D and innovation

ERC Research Report



Associated Themes
  • Business Growth
  • Innovation
  • Productivity and performance

Firms in Northern Ireland have access both to regional grants for R&D and innovation provided by Invest NI and national, UK-wide, project opportunities offered by UKRI. Here for the first time, we are able to compare the comparable impacts of these local and national supports for R&D and innovation on business growth and examine synergies between the two types of support measures. The results provide evidence of the effectiveness of regional support measures and positive synergies between local and national support policies for R&D and innovation.

We examine support provided by Invest NI (INI) and UKRI over the period 2006-16 and draw on administrative data provided by Invest NI, data on UK grant support taken from Gateway to Research and longitudinal information on business performance derived from the Business Structures Database. We adopt a modelling strategy combining propensity score matching and difference in difference estimation and consider five research questions:

  • Do Invest NI R&D and innovation grants support faster growth in terms of employment and turnover in the short (3 years) and medium term (6 years)?
  • Does the growth effect of INI R&D and innovation grants differ?
  • Do UKRI grants support NI firms to achieve faster growth in the short (3 years) and medium term (6 years)?
  • Does UKRI support, or INI support have the strongest effect on growth?
  • Does receiving INI support increase the probability of receiving UKRI support?