General Biz News

R&D investments slip by 1.3% in Fiscal ’15 to $443M

In 2014-15 private companies were responsible for 69 percent of gross investment in R&D in Puerto Rico. In 2014-15 private companies were responsible for 69 percent of gross investment in R&D in Puerto Rico.

A study released by the Puerto Rico Statistics Institute showed that Research & Development investments during Fiscal 2015 were $443.3 million, or to 0.43 percent of the island’s GDP. This represents a slight 1.3 percent drop compared to Fiscal 2013.

However, the third edition of the agency’s “Survey on Science and Technology 2014-15: Research and Development” showed that the private sector slightly increased its investment in R&D activities in Puerto Rico despite reductions in other sectors.

In 2014-15 private companies were responsible for 69 percent of gross investment in R&D in Puerto Rico.

Despite the overall increase in the private sector, the study revealed there has been a noticeable decline in industries with the greatest investment in R&D: Chemical and pharmaceutical companies ($113.2 million in Fiscal 2015, a decrease of 19 percent compared to 2012-13 in nominal terms), and agricultural biotechnology companies, which remained stable at $96 million). The fastest growing sector is the manufacturing of machinery and equipment.

Subsidiaries of companies from the U.S. and other countries remain the main players in terms of R&D investment. However, the total amount of investment funded by parent companies showed a slight drop (-2 percent), while funding by companies based in Puerto Rico or the subsidiary itself has increased by 30 percent, the study showed.

During Fiscal 2015, $126.8 million were invested in R&D activities in universities and other higher-ed institutions. This figure represents a reduction of 6.3 percent from Fiscal 2013, in nominal terms, the study showed. Federal contributions to R&D activities by universities in Puerto Rico were reduced from $92.2 million in 2012-13 to $ 84.5 million in 2014-15.

Meanwhile, investment in R&D by the public sector and nonprofit organizations (including hospitals) was estimated at $9.4 million in Fiscal 2015, 5 percent lower than that what was estimated in 2012-13.

It is estimated that during Fiscal 2015, there were 2,070 people in Puerto Rico working as researchers. If assistants and other support staff are added, a total of 5,500 people participated in R&D activities on the island, of which 52 percent were women.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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