Sector Friday: R&D

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It's Sector Friday once again. Last week Maddie took a look at the relative size of different manufacturing sectors based on output.

This week I'm looking at levels of R&D expenditure. Manufacturing as a whole accounts for nearly three quarters of the UK's total business R&D expenditure and the three big players are pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles and other transport.

R&D expenditure by sector(% of manufacturing expenditure on R&D)Source: ONS

  • Chemicals and pharmaceuticals accounts for 44% of total manufacturing R&D expenditure and has long been the biggest sector in this regard. Within this, pharma accounts for nearly £9 in every 10.
  • Other transport is the next biggest sector in terms of spending, and this is driven by the aerospace sector.
  • Motor vehicles is the third biggest sector and expenditure has been growing quickly. In 2011 motor vehicles accounted for a fifth of growth in business R&D expenditure across the whole economy.
  • Given high levels of expenditure in these three sectors, Food and drink - which we saw last week is the biggest manufacturing sector – has relatively low levels of R&D expenditure relative to its size (accounting for 3% of the manufacturing total).
  • Although Metals expenditure accounts for 1% of total manufacturing expenditure on R&D but has seen impressive growth of late, almost doubling in the last five years.


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