Scottish companies increase their R&D spend says SE chief

SCOTTISH companies are increasing their investment in research and development despite the difficult economic climate, figures from Scottish Enterprise revealed yesterday.

More than 35 million was committed to R&D in the first half of the year - an increase of 10 per cent on last year - by companies applying for support from Scottish Enterprise's innovation funds.

Around 100 companies received a total of 9m in financial assistance to develop new products and processes under the grant schemes including Smart Scotland.

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One of the largest grants to be awarded during the period was 1.57m to Glasgow-based OpenHydro Technology Scotland towards a 4.2m project to support the development of a marine renewable energy system. Fife-based Aircraft Medical also received a 600,000 grant to help develop an anaesthesia monitor that will detect if a patient is conscious during surgery but is unable to let the surgical team know.

David Smith, innovation and enterprise services director at Scottish Enterprise said : "At a time when companies are still experiencing pressures on margins and tighter budgets, it is very encouraging to see that they are continuing to recognise the value of research and development for their business."

Although the overall investment figure was up on 2009 with significant numbers of applications for assistance from smaller technology companies, Smith said the first six months of this year not seen the same levels of demand from larger businesses for support compared to previous years.

"However, there are signs that demand is increasing and we continue to pro-actively work with companies to support growth in this vital area for the economy."