Tom Keighley

Thriving research and development in the North East

North East businesses have shown an enthusiasm for research and development, a new report hightlights.

The North East Design Innovation report was compiled by the NECC and Stanley Black & Decker, and showed a growth of more than 54% in research and development staffing over the last five years.

11 businesses were used as case studies including Eco-homes firm Esh Group, specialist provider of cable protection systems for offshore wind farms TAG Energy Solutions, and fishing rod material developers, Hardy & Greys Ltd.

Those businesses who had a specific R&D budget, has seen it grow by an average of 27.5% in the same time period, and the average increase in R&D employees was shown to be 8%.

Kevin Hewitt, vice president of global engineering at Stanley Black & Decker, said: “Design innovation is at the heart of many North East companies which are thriving, despite poor economic conditions.

“As a company which succeeds on a global scale because of its perpetual focus on innovation and product development, we felt it was important to illustrate the positive impact which can be achieved through focusing on this key business area.”

Andrew Sugden, the NECC’s director of membership and policy, said: “The research in this report showed a significant growth in budgets and staffing in research and development and design during the last five years.

“Through placing an increased focus on this area of their business, each business featured has made significant steps forward in developing their product offering and many are already seeing valuable returns on their investment.”

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