THE Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock has welcomed the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs and focused on the key role research and innovation will play in securing new jobs.
The key economic outcomes, which the Plan aims to secure through the State’s innovation system, include:
· The prioritisation of research funding across areas of credible employment opportunity for Ireland.
· The commercialisation of research into specific goods and services which underpin employment, through licensing of technology to existing companies (indigenous and multinational), and through the development of High Potential Start Ups with real growth potential.
· Effective collaboration led by enterprise in undertaking research, development and innovation.
· The improved performance of enterprises engaged in collaboration in winning new markets through the effective absorption of new technology into their businesses.
· In that context, pursue funding and other opportunities under EU Horizon 2020 for specific sectoral activities of national importance.
· The placement of research personnel in Irish based enterprises to enhance their development capability.
The Minister highlighted some key actions he will be driving forward under the plan including:
· Focusing research investment on the 14 priority areas for research based on the recommendations of the National Research Prioritisation Exercise to underpin specific opportunities of direct relevance to enterprise and jobs;
· Driving ever-greater industry R&D participation targets and a new Innovation Voucher call, focussed on design and branding:
· Driving a new approach to funding Research Centres concentrated on the identified priorities and to create a distinctive enterprise focused culture in these centres;
· Bringing to enactment legislation to give an applied research mandate to Science Foundation Ireland;
· Roll out of Technology Centres in Cloud Computing, Learning Technologies and Financial Services and consider others in areas linked to the priority areas (e.g. Connected Health, Pharmaceutical Production, Data Analytics, Medical Device Manufacturing);
· Ensuring a new industry supporting protocol for management of intellectual property from publicly funded research is agreed and implemented consistently in Ireland to make Ireland an attractive place for industry/academic research collaborations.
· Promoting a range of actions in support of STEM subjects including actions to be delivered through the Discover Science and Engineering programme that will, in future, operate under the responsibility of Science Foundation Ireland.
These actions focus on a wide range of sectors with high employment growth potential. When taken alongside improvements to the R&D tax credit through the Finance Bill, the IDA target of €500m in R&D investment approvals in 2012, Enterprise Ireland’s target to help over 740 companies invest in excess of €100,000 in R&D, a €600m target take from the EU FP7 programme, we can ensure Ireland will compete and create jobs in areas underpinned by research and innovation.