Spending on business research and development (R&D) in Scotland has topped £1 billion for the first time.
Figures for 2016 show an increase of £98 million in spending on the previous year to a total of £1.072 billion.
The R&D spend is dominated by manufacturing (£592 million), followed by the services industry (£366 million) and ‘other’ product groups such as agriculture, waste management and the oil and gas sector (£114 million).
The number of people employed in R&D across Scotland has also increased to 11,943 – the highest level since annual statistics were first published in 2001.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown welcomed the figures in the Business Enterprise Research and Development (BERD) Scotland 2016 report.
He said: “This is great news for Scotland’s economy. It shows that Scotland’s businesses are embracing innovation and the measures we have taken to increase business investment in research and development are paying off.
“The improvements we have made, and continue to make, to our innovation system are having an impact, with Scotland outperforming the UK in terms of BERD spend growth.
“This complements wider innovation statistics which show that Scotland’s number of innovation-active businesses has increased hugely over the last few years, matching the performance of the top quartile of EU member states.”
Scottish R&D expenditure represented 4.8% of the UK total of £22.2 billion in 2016, the report said.
Over the last decade, Scotland’s spend has risen by around 69% in real terms, compared to 22% for the UK.
Around two thirds of spending in 2016 was by businesses in just four local authority areas: Edinburgh (26.6%), Aberdeen (15.4%), West Lothian (10.3%) and Glasgow (10.2%).
Jim Watson, director of innovation and enterprise services at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We’ve been working hard to get more companies innovating and investing in R&D, and this approach is clearly working from the data announced today.
“These figures echo the excellent results we’re seeing from the companies we work alongside, and also reflect the EY Attractiveness Survey 2017 which recognises Scotland as the UK leader in attracting foreign direct investment for R&D projects.”