Government Allocates €75m For 27 Innovative Projects

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD have together announced €75million in funding for 27 new innovative projects, under the first phase of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund.

The projects include a scheme to help communities generate their own electricity, a new treatment for sepsis, a support system for coastal flooding and an advanced 3D printing facility for medical implants.

The initiatives all involve at least one small-medium sized enterprise (SME), with many being led by one, and can use the money to develop and deploy their innovative technology on a commercial basis.

Project Ireland is set to allocate €500m to the fund over the next 20 years, which is part of the Government's Future Jobs initiative that aims to secure Ireland's economic success.

The fund is one of the first of its kind in the world and has the wider aim of tackling the national and global challenges to job security.

Announcing the successful projects at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin on Monday 10 December, Mr Varadkar said: "The creation of this fund is particularly timely when we consider the vast and rapid technological advancements that are taking place. Today everything is faster, more efficient, and more easily accessible. We must adapt to a future of greater digitalisation and automation. Today's school children will be employed in jobs and industries that don't exist yet. Technology will eliminate or transform existing occupations. 

"We are currently developing a new plan, the Future Jobs Initiative, to meet these challenges and ensure we assist industry to create and sustain good jobs for our people in light of future challenges and opportunities. The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is central to the Future Jobs Programme. It's our way of stimulating private investment in new technologies and ways of doing business, and building stronger links between higher education, multinationals and Irish SMEs."

Minister Humphreys added: "This Fund is about ensuring that Ireland can stay ahead of the game to secure the jobs of the future. Disruptive technologies will significantly change the way that we work and live and we need to embrace the changes coming our way.

"A recent OECD study estimated that the average Irish worker faced a 46 per cent probability of being automated by the 2030s so we cannot afford to stand still. We are lucky in this country to have amazing companies that are doing amazing things in technology, both indigenous and multinational. We also have world-class researchers so there is a lot we can achieve by working together.

"These 27 projects have devised groundbreaking solutions that will help us to future-proof our economy."

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD welcomed the announcement, which he believes is "exactly the kind of fund that Ireland needs right now".

"These projects represent exciting collaborations happening between Ireland's cutting-edge research base and our vibrant, dynamic enterprise and start-up community, reflecting the excellent skills we have here. I am delighted to support projects that will help to position Ireland as a Global Innovation Leader and lead the way in driving disruptive technologies innovation."

In the first phase of the scheme, over 300 applications were submitted.

The 27 successful projects have made it through a highly competitive selection process which involved a screening by a panel of international experts.


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