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Knowledge Economy Report

Tracking progress. Shaping policy. Powering prosperity.

With productivity levels almost 1/3 higher than any other sector in our economy, our knowledge economy is a wealth generator and a provider of highly paid jobs throughout NI. It’s a fundamental building block for the transformation of NI’s economy, which is why we put it at the heart of our ambition.

This year’s report shows that for the fourth consecutive year, Northern Ireland is the 2nd fastest growing Knowledge Economy across the UK. However the rate of growth is slowing and given the significant economic and technology challenges we are heading into, radical action is needed now if we are to survive as a modern economy.

For the first time, the report contains specially commissioned research into the potential impact of automation, one of the biggest external forces of the 21st Century. Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre, who carried out the research, estimates that up to 423,000 (50%) of jobs in NI could be affected by automation in the next decade.

2017 Report

Full Research Findings

Open Data

Press Release

We are calling for the creation of a dynamic coalition of Government, public bodies, private sector business and Universities, aligned and working to deliver practical solutions to enable NI to meet the challenges and take advantage of the massive growth in technology – The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Previous Reports

NI Knowledge Economy Index (2016 Report)
NI Knowledge Economy Index (Connect commentary) 

NI Knowledge Economy Index (2015 Report)
NI Knowledge Economy Index (2015 Infographic)

NI Knowledge Economy Index (2014 Report)
NI Knowledge Economy Index (2014 Infographic)

NI Knowledge Economy Index (2013 Report)
NI Knowledge Economy Index (2013 Infographic)

NI Knowledge Economy Index (Report)

NI Knowledge Economy Index (Baseline Report)

Further Information

The 2017 Knowledge Economy Report is supported by Bank of Ireland UK and independently produced by Ulster University Economic Policy Centre on behalf of Connect at Catalyst Inc.

The Knowledge Economy Index uses key data year-on-year to compare our performance with other regions. It also monitors the availability of capital. The data helps policy makers and trade organisations plan and advocate effectively for sufficient workforce housing, transportation solutions, zoning and availability of resources. The report also serves as a recruiting and retention tool, demonstrating to research, leadership and management talent from around the world that Northern Ireland is a leading centre for innovation.

Steering Team

Scott Rutherford (Chair)

Queen's University, Belfast

Graham Bailie


Tim Brundle

Ulster University

David Roberts

Invest NI

Alan Bridle

Bank Of Ireland

Niamh Griffin

Bank Of Ireland

Kieran O’Neill


Lorraine Acheson

Innovate UK