This study examines the incidence of research and development (R&D) activities, type of R&D undertaken and the incidence of R&D co-operation among manufacturing firms located in a key urban area of the North East England, a peripheral region of the UK. We have found that over 62% of manufacturing firms in this urban growth area to be R&D active, suggesting that R&D active firms tend to be concentrated in urban area s in a peripheral region, as it is the case in the leading regions. However, the incidence of R&D co-operation was found to be relatively low among R&D active firms. It is also found that the key determinants of undertaking R&D to be the existence of a core competence/product and exporting activities. These findings might be of interest to policy makers promoting economic growth via firm's R&D activities.