Knowledge Economy Is Not a Grey Matter; Bright Future for Ulster's Tech & Research Companies

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THE knowledge economy is growing faster in Northern Ireland than in the rest of the UK, it has been revealed.

An index which tracks the health of companies here in nine key areas shows there has been composite growth of 20% between 2009 and 2012.

And the creation of 295 innovative start-up businesses in that three-year period helped employment levels in Ulster knowledge-based businesses to rise by 6.2% compared to a UK average of 2.5%.

The independent Knowledge Economy Index benchmarks Northern Ireland's software, IT services, tech consultancy, aerospace and transport, medical devices, computing, pharma, biotech and creative content firms against the rest of the UK.

The report said the key growth areas are employment, business start-ups and a growing number of venture capital investments.

Steve Orr, director of NISP Connect, an organisation which supports the development of innovative technologies, said: "Jobs in the knowledge economy typically pay 25% more than the average wage and the more growth we see in this sector the greater the ripple effect. …