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News : Innovation Last Updated: Nov 10, 2010 - 9:57:05 AM

Innovation Ireland: O’Keeffe urges latest research policy advisory group to focus on new 'high-quality jobs'
By Michael Hennigan, Founder and Editor of Finfacts
Nov 10, 2010 - 9:46:09 AM

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O ’Keeffe announces 50 jobs in financial services software firm, Sept 17, 2010. L - R: Peter Marshall, Managing Director Fi-Tek, Batt O'Keeffe TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Barry O'Leary, Chief Executive IDA Ireland.

Innovation Ireland: The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe TD, today told the new group drawing up an action plan for public investment in research to focus on the creation of new high-quality jobs and to set aside sectoral interests.

The group headed by Intel Ireland’s former general manager, Jim O’Hara, is the fourth advisory group or taskforce to have been established since December 2008 to advise on the floundering 'smart economy' strategy.

Last May, O'Keefe said he would 'lead the drive' to create 117,000 net new Irish jobs in innovation over the next 10 years by implementing the report of the Innovation Taskforce.

The Minister himself has no business experience, never mind any exposure to innovation; most of the May announced group were drawn from the Innovation Taskforce which published a flawed report last March, that guessed between 117,000 and 235,000 jobs could be created in the high technology and biotech sectors over the coming decade. The targets are fanciful and are extrapolated from the experience of America's Silicon Valley where a tech company has a 25% chance to survive 7 years and where the biotech industry made its first profit after 42 years, in 2008  -- the 3 biggest firms were responsible for the lion's share of the earnings.

O’Keeffe said today economic recovery and high-quality jobs must be at the heart of the strategic consideration process.

The latest group is working on a five-year prioritisation plan for Government investment in research.

It will identify up to 20 target areas on which the Government should focus its allocation of public funding for research and development.

The Minister asked the group to complete its work within 12 months with an action plan for each priority area setting out specific goals over five years.

He wants the group to focus on areas that will yield the best return for taxpayers’ investment in research and, ultimately, create high-quality jobs.

Investment in research and development underpins indigenous industry and strengthens our foreign-owned multinational corporation base, O'Keeffe said.

He added that in two years, the number of IDA Ireland investment wins with a research and development component has gone from 10% to 49%.

This is a claim that should be viewed with caution as the R&D element could be a minor issue for window-dressing in a project.

O'Keeffe said: "We are investing €600m annually in research and development to drive new levels of innovation, competitiveness and job growth.

"The steering group’s work is a major national exercise of structured stakeholder engagement aimed at setting out where best to focus our work and tailor our investment."

The steering group draws on national and international expertise in the private and public sectors, as well as senior Government officials.

O’Keeffe asked that  international experts who have completed similar exercises in other countries to help the steering group.

Better late than never but now examining what should be done years after a strategy has been funded,  suggests as Finfacts has highlighted since 2006, that the Government risked spending billions of tax funds with little to show for it.

University research will never be the engine of jobs growth despite the aspirations of vested interests in the universities and  amateur politicians

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© Copyright 2010 by Finfacts.com

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