Irish businesses spent nearly €1.9 billion on in-house research and development activities in 2011.
According to new figures from the Central Statistics Office the split was 14% on capital expenditure like land and buildings and 86% on the labour costs of R&D staff.
The CSO's Business Expenditure on Research and Development report says the R&D spend in 2011 was level with 2010 figures.
Businesses that were active in R&D in 2011 estimated that they would increase their spend, bringing the total R&D spend to almost €2bn in 2012.
More than 61% of the total R&D spend was generated in the services sector.
Provisional EU data indicates an average EU R&D spend for 2011 of 1.26% of Gross Domestic Product.
Finland reported the highest spend at 2.67% of GDP while Ireland spent 1.17% of GDP on R&D.