R&D Investment in Private Enterprises Rises Slightly
SAN JUAN – While there was a decline in the amount spent for research and development at Puerto Rico higher education entities, the public sector and in nonprofit organizations for 2014-15, private enterprises increased their R&D investments by 3.5%, a Puerto Rico Statistics Institute (PRSI) survey released Thursday shows.
Gross investment in R&D for fiscal year 2015 was $443 million, or 0.43%, of the gross internal product, a 1.3% reduction from fiscal 2013.
The “2014-15 Science and Technology Survey: Research and Development” issued by the PRSI, contains data and statistics that allow officials to ascertain how much funding is destined to R&D. This is the third iteration of this survey. Previous ones were made public in 2009 and in fiscal 2013.
The study shows that private enterprise continues to be the leading actor in R&D activity. In 2014-15, it was responsible for 69% of the gross investment for such purposes.
While the number of industries that engage in R&D has decreased, such as pharmaceutical companies and farming biotechnology firms, there has been an uptick in firms that manufacture machinery and equipment.
“Subsidiaries of U.S. companies and firms from other countries continue to be the protagonists of R&D investment; nonetheless, the total of investment by matrix firms went down slightly [2%] while financing by Puerto Rico subsidiaries went up [30%],” according to a release announcing the survey.
In fiscal 2015, there was $126.8 million in R&D investments at universities and other higher learning institutions, or 6.3% less than in fiscal 2013. U.S. government contributions to R&D decreased to $84.5 million in fiscal 2015 from $92.2 million in fiscal 2013.
R&D investment by the public sector and nonprofit groups was $9.4 million in fiscal 2015, a 5% decline from fiscal 2013’s estimate.
There were approximately 2,070 people in Puerto Rico working in research in fiscal 2015. If assistants and other support staff are added, there were 5,500 individuals working in R&D, or 5.6 for every 1,000 people. About 52% of the individuals working in R&D are women.