Recession? What recession? Cover my boffins in gold!The UK came third in the world in a survey of R&D budgets which showed fears of recession did nothing to slow research spending in 2000. The top 500 global companies boosted their research and development spending in 2000 by 10 per cent, up to $290bn (£197bn), a survey by the Department of Trade and Industry revealed today. The UK is third in the global league, behind only the US and Finland. Japan came fourth. Despite widespread fears throughout the year that a recession was in the offing, the IT software and hardware industries continued to pump money into product development. The global software sector saw a staggering 18 per cent rise in R&D spending during 2000, nearly matched by a 16 per cent rise in the hardware sector. The troubled telecoms sector, by contrast, saw R&D spending drop by two per cent. Though the UK seems to come out well from these figures, the Future and Innovation Unit of the DTI still told UK businesses they ought to be spending more on research, to keep up with international levels.