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News : Irish Last Updated: Apr 24, 2009 - 5:31:05 PM

Claim that recent research reveals that investment in R&D and innovation is the way forward for economic growth but other research says massive Irish spending is having a disappointingly limited effect
By Finfacts Team
Feb 11, 2008 - 1:11:28 PM

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Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin TD, and his counterpart in Northern Ireland, Economy Minister Nigel Dodds today welcomed the findings of the first Mapping Study of Research and Technology Development (RTD) Centres.

InterTradeIreland has published the findings of the Mapping Study of RTD Centres across Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The study recommends enhancing levels of awareness, communication and developing support programmes which facilitate co-operative activity in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and examining ways to fund such activity. The Mapping Study suggests measures to improve graduate education linkages, provide additional support for networking, encourage co-operative research clusters and provide a dedicated funding mechanism in both areas.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin T.D., said: “Once again, this study recognises the area of science and technology as being of vital importance to the future economic development of both jurisdictions.

“We have increased spending on R&D in higher education from €492m in 2004 to approximately €600m in 2006, and invested some €1.56bn in R&D in the business sector in 2006. We recognise the mutual benefits of co-operation and have set aside €60 million for the North/South Innovation fund.”

Ireland's policy to promote innovation through interaction between businesses and third-level institutes is having a disappointingly limited effect, according to a study carried out by two economists from University College Cork (UCC).

In an article last month in the Irish Times Innovation magazine, Declan Jordan and Eoin O'Leary from UCC wrote: "The massive public investment in research at third level may have a disappointingly limited effect on future Irish prosperity."(see Irish Mind etc link below).

Welcoming the Mapping Study, Northern Ireland’s Economy Minister Nigel Dodds said: “The future economic success of Northern Ireland relies on innovation to fuel enterprise and to help local companies become more competitive on the global stage.

“Key stakeholders in the innovation economy should be encouraged, by a variety of means, to invest more in R&D and to adopt more innovative business practices. They must engage in more robust interactions and focus on the growing need to develop the key people, skills, partnerships and networks for the innovation economy.”

David Dobbin, Chairman of InterTradeIreland, which commissioned the report, said:
“This Mapping Study of Research and Technology Development (RTD) Centres across Ireland and Northern Ireland, provides for the first time, details of research centres of excellence in key technology areas and the potential for collaborative research and development projects. The study also highlights barriers to progress including networks and funding structures which need to be addressed if the opportunities available are to be realised.”

The report aims to inform a co-operative strategy for action by relevant policy makers and development agencies. It identifies 36 centres as having potential for collaboration, 18 in Ireland and 18 in Northern Ireland that span across areas such as biotechnology, ICT and nanotechnology. A further 23, 15 in Ireland and 8 in Northern Ireland, are identified as having potential for developing collaboration.

Key Facts:

Mapping Study of RTD Centres in Ireland and Northern Ireland was commissioned by InterTradeIreland in association with a steering group comprising of representatives from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, the Department for Employment and Learning, Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland.

In Ireland the spending on R&D in the higher education sector grew to €600.6m in 2006, representing an average annual rise of 10.5% since 2004, equating to 26% of the total R&D spend and 0.33% of GDP, or 0.4% GNP. Spending on R&D in the business sector was expected to rise to €1.56bn in 2006, equating to 67% of the total R&D spend and 0.9% of GDP, or 1.05% GNP.

In Northern Ireland, spending on R&D in the higher education sector was £146.2m in 2005, up 7% on the previous year and equating to 48.3% of the total R&D spend. Spending on R&D in the business sector was £142.6m in 2005, up 14.6% on the previous year and equating to 48.3% of the total R&D spend. 2006 R&D figures for Northern Ireland are available here.

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