Manufacturing Process R&D activities are one of the target areas of Irish industrial development agencies in their quest towards embedding pharmaceutical companies in Ireland. This paper analyses the changing role of Ireland in the global process R&D networks of the pharmaceutical companies. The paper is based on data collected in an email survey of all pharmaceutical establishments in Ireland and face-to-face interviews with 13 companies. The article outlines the various stages of the process R&D cycle and assesses the involvement of the Irish establishments at each stage. Far from a uniform undifferentiated activity, process R&D comprises a range of activities. The results show that although Irish plants are increasing their involvement in process R&D, this involvement tends to be concentrated in the last stages of the cycle. Â© 2010 Geographical Society of Ireland.