08/12/2015

Govt Publish Innovation Strategy

The government has published its new Innovation Strategy - 'Innovation 2020: Excellence, Talent, Impact' – aimed at building on success in science strategy of past decade through highly ambitious private-public collaborations.

The Minister for Skills, Research, Innovation Damien English, together with the Taoiseach and the Minister for Jobs, has published Innovation 2020, Ireland's 5-year strategy for research and development, science and technology.

The strategy is aimed at building on the significant successes delivered by the Government's science strategy over the past decade, which has seen Ireland dramatically improve its performance globally in this area. The next phase of the strategy is aimed at building on existing infrastructures and achieving ambitious private-public collaborations.

A key ambition of the Strategy is to increase total investment in R&D in Ireland, led by the private sector, to 2.5% of GNP. On current official projections, this would mean that over €5billion will be invested per year in R&D by the private and public sectors by 2020. This will represent almost doubling current levels of investment (€2.9billion in 2014).

Among the other ambitious targets to be delivered by the strategy are:

• the number of research personnel in enterprise will be increased by 60% to 40,000

• research masters and PhD enrolments will be increased by 30% to 2,250;

• private investment of R&D performed in the public research system will be doubled

• 40% increase in the share of PhD researchers transferring from SFI research teams to industry

• Ireland's participation in International Research Organisations will be expanded – we will apply for full membership of ELIXIR, and we will explore membership options for CERN and ESO

• the network of Research Centres will be further developed, building critical mass and addressing enterprise needs;

• a successor to the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions will be rolled out to include investment in the creation of new, and the      maintenance and upgrading of existing, facilities and equipment and ensure full utilisation;

• €1.25bn funding under the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020 will be drawn down;

• a new Programme of Funding for Frontier Research will be introduced, providing resilience and responsiveness to meet new challenges or      opportunities as they emerge;

• challenge-centric research will be initiated to stimulate solutions-driven collaborations bringing together enterprise, higher education institutions and public sector to identify and address national challenges

• horizon-scanning – in the coming years a formal horizon-scanning exercise will be  undertaken to identify areas of strategic commercial opportunity for Irish-based enterprises. This process will feed into the next research  prioritisation exercise in 2018

• international benchmarking – we will benchmark Ireland's performance in these areas against other comparable economies, and develop steps to improve our comparative performance

Launching the report, Minister English said: "Developing the talent of our population is an underlying aim of Innovation 2020 and will be critical to the successful realisation of our national vision, of Ireland as an innovation leader. Our success in delivering on our vision will depend on our people - undertaking the research, working in and creating successful enterprises, and contributing to the society in which we live. We will support talent development from primary level through to Postdoctoral research and from frontier research across all disciplines to practical application. We will support the successful deployment of that talent and research in driving innovation in enterprises and public services." 

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD added: "Innovation 2020 is a key element in our plan to keep the recovery going by helping to create new jobs and new opportunities for research. It sets out a vision in which Ireland would become a Global Innovation Leader, with research, development, science and technology all contributing to this goal. Our reputation for research excellence has been a major catalyst in our success in attracting and maintaining foreign direct investment, and this Strategy demonstrates that we remain strongly committed to maintaining and improving standards in the excellence of our research." 

(MH)

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