Businesses in S'pore cut R&D spending last year but local firms bucked trend: A*Star

Singapore's total spending on research and development (R&D) fell by 2.7 per cent last year, largely due to companies cutting their research expenditure.

Business expenditure on R&D declined slightly from $4.6 billion in 2011 to $4.4 billion last year, according to the latest National R&D Survey conducted by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star). This came against a backdrop of slower economic growth in the same period, the agency said in a release on Monday.

Local companies, however, bucked the trend, A*Star added. Singapore firms spent $1.3 billion on R&D activities last year, a 16 per cent jump from 2011.

Large local businesses led this increase. They poured $753 million into R&D last year, up 30 per cent from 2011.

The rising trend "reflects the increasing propensity of local companies to undertake R&D and innovation activities to improve their businesses", said A*Star.

Public R&D spending held steady at $2.8 billion last year, the agency added.

The National R&D Survey polled more than 1,000 organisations, comprising private sector firms, government organisations, local educational institutions and public sector research institutes.