Government publishes ambitious Innovation Strategy – Innovation 2020: Excellence Talent Impact

Action Plan for Jobs, Biotech, I.T., Innovation, Jobs, Meath, Photonics, Research, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills, Startups, Wesmeath

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

The headline ambition of the Strategy is to increase total investment in R&D in Ireland 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 public and private sectors by 2020. This will represent almost doubling current levels of investment (€2.756billion in 2013).

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 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;
  • €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 – a series of structures will be put in place to benchmark Ireland’s performance in these areas against other comparable economies, and develop steps to improve our comparative performance

Launching the report, Minister of State for Research Innovation and Skills, Damien English TD 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, giving Ireland the capacity to exploit opportunities both established and emerging. 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 the full continuum of talent development from primary level through to Postdoctoral research and from frontier research across all disciplines to the practical application and the successful deployment of that talent and research in driving innovation in enterprises and public services.”

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD said:

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said:

Welcoming the launch of the strategy, Professor Mark WJ Ferguson, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “I welcome the new strategy Innovation 2020 which highlights the importance of scientific research and innovation to all aspects of Ireland’s future and which confirms the Government’s commitment to increase both public and private investment in this area. Innovation 2020 builds on the considerable past successes and outlines some ambitious new plans such as challenge based funding. Science, innovation and technology are driving rapid global changes and the world is becoming more competitive. Ireland needs to continue to push forward: be the creators and owners of new ideas and innovations, upskill our people, strengthen and future proof our economy and society. Implementation of Innovation 2020 will allow us to do that: excellence, talent and impact.”

Minister Announces new Photonics National Technology Platform at Photonics Ireland 2015 Conference

Jobs, Photonics, Research and Innovation, Science, Startups

On the opening night of the Photonics Ireland 2015 conference, an invited audience of more than 300 photonics experts, from industry & academia, and policy makers with a shared interest in putting Ireland at the forefront of the global photonics market, descended on Cork’s City Hall to launch a new National Technology Platform (NTP) called ‘Photonics Ireland’. The initiative will play a major role in mobilising Ireland’s photonics activities so that Ireland can capture a share of the projected market of €600 billion by 2020 and the expected major job growth across Europe in the next 5 years.

Photonics is the generation, manipulation and utilisation of light and is a key enabling technology driving growth in the ICT and medical device sectors in Ireland – forming the backbone of the internet and using light based technologies for early detection of disease and the development of smart surgical instruments.

With a rapidly developing photonics industry and access to world class photonics researchers, Ireland is in a prime position to leverage this burgeoning market. By bringing the key stakeholders together, the Photonics Ireland platform aims to generate and deliver a common vision and strategy across the Irish photonics community in order to connect Irish strengths to emerging market opportunities.

Launching the Photonics Ireland ‘Making Light Work’ action plan, Damien English, TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation commented; “Photonics is one of the globe’s most important future industries and an area in which Ireland can flourish. By harnessing the strength of the Irish photonics community through this National Technology Platform, we can significantly maximise Ireland’s position as world leader in this field. This platform is a leading example of how Irish research bodies and industry can come together to define a common strategy and identify and execute activities which will drive job creation and develop technologies that will significantly improve all our day to day lives”

The Platform, which is co-ordinated by the SFI funded Irish Photonic Integration Centre (IPIC) will deliver a suite of research and innovation actions focused on the areas of technology, incubation and training – all which will deliver greater investment to photonic start-ups and SMEs, access to world-leading research & technology while also meeting the ever growing photonics skills needs of Ireland’s high tech sectors through a number of training and outreach activities. It will also create a vehicle to engage with similar national platforms across Europe and to assist Irish companies develop partnerships with Europe’s leading photonics companies and universities.

Speaking at the launch, Professor Paul Townsend, Chairman of the Photonics Ireland Conference and Director of IPIC said: “As evidenced by the large and diverse attendance here tonight and throughout the duration of the Photonics Ireland conference, Ireland’s photonics ecosystem is thriving. There are over 300,000 people directly employed in the photonics industry in Europe and the global market is currently estimated to be €350 billion – leading to huge potential for Ireland’s photonics research and industrial community.  With high profile announcements such as President Barack Obama’s $200 million endorsement of an integrated photonics institute in the U.S., the importance of photonics is being recognised across the globe. The time is now right to put an action plan in place to secure our capabilities for the future”

The implementation of the Photonics Ireland Action plan will be coordinated and facilitated by a Governing Committee composed of representatives from industry, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, SFI, National Research Centres and Academia.

For further information on the photonics Ireland platform visit: