Speech to Chambers Ireland Social Responsibility Awards, including Apple Tax.

Business, European issues, Housing and Urban Renewal, Meath, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills, Speeches, Wesmeath

Speech by Mr. Damien English T.D. Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal at Chambers Ireland Corporate Social Responsibility Awards 2016

Thursday 1st September

The Double Tree Hotel, Dublin 4.

Check Against Delivery

Ladies and Gentlemen. Good evening to you all.

I would like to thank Chambers Ireland and particularly Chief Executive Ian Talbot for your invitation to speak tonight.

My congratulations to your team Ian, and to Tina Roche and all at ‘Business in the Community Ireland’ for your initiative in promoting Corporate Social Responsibility in Ireland.

Nights like tonight are worth having. They reward effort, encourage excellence and highlight your work to new and wider audiences.

I am a big fan of CSR. In my previous role in the Department of Education I saw first-hand the benefits of companies getting involved in combating exclusion through programmes for literacy, numeracy and coding.

Tonight I have learnt even more about the great work that you do up and down the country.

Through your CSR you are contributing to the social recovery of Ireland, as well as our economic recovery.

For all of that, I want to sincerely THANK YOU.

I note that earlier in the year, at the launch of these awards, Gerard O’Neill of Amarach Research spoke about the link between CSR and Customer Relationship Management.

In Government we have many customers and many relationships to manage.

One main group of customers we have is you; Chambers Ireland member businesses. Both indigenous Irish and Multinational Companies.

Earlier this week the European Commission attempted to drive a wedge in our long standing relationship with you, by their ruling on Apple, and it would be remiss of me not to discuss this with you tonight.

The ruling is an attempt by the Commission – an appointed body, not an elected body, to meddle in the national taxation affairs of a sovereign member state.

The European Union draws it authority from the EU Treaties which were voted upon by the Irish people. The Irish people have not authorized the EU to look after our tax affairs.

It is important Ireland maintains control of its taxation and economic affairs, because we are a small island country, off another island, off the coast of Europe. We have few natural resources in the traditional sense.

And yet, we are a magnet for global investment. Why?

  • Because of our relationship with you and our pro enterprise environment – one of certainty and stability.
  • Because we have a young, well educated, and flexible workforce.
  • Because we have an education system responsive to the need of enterprise. One that is reforming and changing, with new apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • We have a historic friendship with Britain which will not diminish with Brexit.
  • We are a bridge between America and the European Union.
  • We have a vast global diaspora acting as unofficial ambassadors worldwide.
  • And finally, because of our taxation policy.

A taxation policy that all major political parties have bought into and respected whilst in Government through the years.

A taxation policy that the European Commission and others have tried to strike down, most recently in their response to the economic crisis.

The Apple tax ruling by the European Commission is our biggest economic and sovereign challenge since the arrival of the Troika.

Unless overturned, it is a challenge to our open global economy and Irish jobs. We cannot have CSR if we have no corporations.

Our position in Fine Gael is that we need to appeal the decision. I hope the Cabinet meeting tomorrow, and all elements of our Partnership Government, endorse this position.

My personal view is that we will make an appeal. Our position is right. The Commission is wrong. And I believe we will win the appeal.

On that note I want to thank Chambers Ireland for being one of the first organisations to call for an appeal.

You in Chambers Ireland know that backing this position is backing Ireland as a location for the best of international capital, investment and jobs.

Backing this position is backing Irish research, innovation and talent.

Backing this position continues to create opportunities for all of our people, beyond what an island nation of ours could otherwise expect or hope.

And backing this position is backing the members of Chambers Ireland.

To conclude, our relationship with Chambers Ireland can be described as a mutually beneficial one. Government needs your businesses to be viable and sustainable.

We need you to be profitable to pay tax and create jobs, to employ people that will drive your business forward.

In turn it is through your success in business and your people that allows you to drive your CSR programmes forward.

All of this is at stake if we do not defend our historic open and transparent corporate tax regime.

Finally ladies and gentlemen, that is the serious stuff out of the way. Congratulations to everyone who has won an award so far, I know there are more to come.

I would like to hand you back over to our host Mary Kennedy.

ENDS

Jobless fall welcome but we cannot pause until we reach full employment again – Minister English

Action Plan for Jobs, Innovation, Jobs, Research, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills, Startups

Monday, 11th July 2016

Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien English T.D. has
welcomed the fall in unemployment nationally from 9.4% in June 2015 to
7.8% in June 2016 gone by, but said that the Government, state
agencies and local County Councils/LEOs cannot pause for a moment
until we reach full employment.

“I welcome the news that unemployment continues to fall.  Indeed it is
now halved since the Great Recession of 2008 struck our country with
all of its dreadful consequences for our people and society.  The next
task is to see this figure being cut in half again with the reaching
of full employment” stated Minister English.

Minister English, who in his previous role in the Department of Jobs,
was a key driver of the Action Plan for Jobs process, along with the
Science Strategy and Skills Strategy, said that continued Research,
Development, Innovation and Education locally in Meath and nationally
were key to keeping job creation on track.  Ireland’s business climate
and its tax rates must remain both competitive and attractive to
investors and to returning Irish people in a post Brexit environment
he said.

“All of the barriers big and small, locally and nationally, to
creating jobs must be identified, examined and removed.  In the early
and mid 2000s we took the recovery for granted in this country and
squandered the boom, we cannot take our eye off the ball this time
until we reach full employment again” concluded Minister English.

Response to Fintan O’Toole and the importance of FDI to Ireland

Business, I.T., Innovation, Research, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills

I was somewhat surprised to learn that Fintan O’Toole takes his policy views from US talk Radio (I would have thought he was more a Guardian reader myself) but that probably explains why his view on foreign direct investment and Ireland’s industrial policy is so out of touch with reality.

As the economist Seamus Coffey recently argued elsewhere we need to kick back on ill informed taunts that Ireland is some kind of tax haven. Multinationals make a massive contribution to the Irish economy.   According to a recent report by Grant Thornton, there are 1,033 overseas companies operating in Ireland, employing over 161,000 people, spending €24bn, paying Irish staff €8bn in wages and generating €122bn in exports.

The taxation of multinationals is based on a fundamental principle: corporate profit-taxing rights are granted on the source principle. Put simply countries can tax the profits from operations located in their countries. Although some of the world’s largest companies have operations in Ireland, we can only tax them on the profit they generate from their activities in Ireland, which we do.

The issue being debated in the US at the moment however relates to a loop hole in the US tax code which allows ‘deferral’ of corporate income taxes, and allows US multinationals to delay certain tax payments until the profits are transferred to US-incorporated entities in their corporate structure. As Seamus Coffey pointed out a result of the deferral provisions in the US tax code, some companies create an artificial division between their US and non-US source profits and give the appearance of very low tax rates on their non-US profits. The reality is that most of the profit is sourced in the US, and the companies owe US corporate income tax on those profits. It is not the case that the profits are untaxed.

In plain English we aren’t the problem; the US tax code is. Even the US Treasury Secretary has written to the EU Commission stating that while they don’t collect the tax until repatriation the US system of deferral “does not give EU Member States the legal right to tax this income.”

Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate is a fundamental part of our offering to multinationals but equally important are access to EU markets and most critically talent.  IMD ranks Ireland’s educational system as being amongst the top ten in the world. We rank number one in the world for the availability of competent senior managers and flexibility of our workforce. If (for example) you want to find people who really understand pan-European operations, Shared Services or Compliance you come to Ireland.

Ireland’s big idea isn’t attracting foreign direct investment its building Irish capabilities. Foreign direct investment is one of the key ways we build real capabilities.

Couple of practical examples Dublin is known as the shared services capital of Europe. We have built that expertise over many years. We are now applying that expertise in shared services to the business of Government. The adoption of Shared services by the Irish Government is core to public sector modernisation and delivering better and more cost effective public services.

Another example the Tyndall Institute which has built up a huge expertise in working through working on research projects with some of the world’s leading high tech multinationals. It is now partnering with Teagasc to apply that learning to developing the food sector in key areas like traceability. In short we are using capabilities developed with multinationals to deliver better Government and develop Irish industry.

My work as Minister of State was focused on making sure we continued to build Ireland’s capabilities through a new national Innovation Strategy and a new national Skills Strategy. Both strategies are fundamentally about making sure we have the skills and capabilities to compete in a rapidly changing world. Both strategies were developed in partnership with the key stakeholders and can only be delivered by a partnership between Government, Industry and Academia. The innovation strategy offers us the potential to use the Irish research community to build cross industry collaboration between some of the world’s leading companies here to really drive innovation. The Skills strategy will ensure we have the highly skilled workforce necessary for the incremental innovation needed to stay competitive.

The task of the last Government was to stabilise the public finances and start getting people back to work.  This gives us the resources to future proof the Irish economy by investing in education, research & innovation. It gives us the resources to turn our economic growth into a social recovery by investing in new and reformed public services, and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to benefit from a return to growth.

The success of the last Government (and we had some pretty major successes despite what our critics say) provides us as a nation with the time and space to think about the future we want for our children not just how do we pay the national debt. We now for the first time in almost ten years have real choices. We can start to think about the big ideas that will shape Ireland’s future. That is a task not just for Government but for all of us. We have a second chance of succeeding as a nation. I hope we use it well.

Shire to create 400 jobs in Meath at new state-of-the-art facility

Action Plan for Jobs, Biotech, Innovation, Jobs, Meath, Research, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills

Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation welcomed today’s announcement that Shire will create a new, state of the art biologics manufacturing campus, in Co. Meath which it expects will lead to the creation of approximately 400 permanent jobs on a 120 acre site in Piercetown.

This is a huge boost for the Irish economy and for business confidence in County Meath. There will also be some 700 jobs during the construction period of the new facility in South Meath.

As Minister of State at the Department of Jobs I have seen the good working relationship between Meath County Council and the IDA in recent years.  This has ensured that Meath has fast become an attractive location for many industries, including the life sciences and biotechnology sectors. This investment, coupled with other recent investments in Meath such as Facebook, is really putting the county on the map for business investment.

I look forward to continue working towards significant economic impact in Co Meath through jobs and capital investment with the IDA, Meath County Council, Enterprise Ireland, Meath Enterprise, the LEO office in Meath and all business and entrepreneur minded people” concluded Minister English.

Science Foundation Ireland and Pfizer announce exciting new R&D programme for Ireland

Action Plan for Jobs, Funding, Innovation, Jobs, Research, Research and Innovation

13th April 2016

Funding awarded to researchers in Ireland to find potential new therapies for patients of unmet needs

Science Foundation Ireland and Pfizer today announced the recipients of the 2016 SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award programme. The collaboration between Science Foundation Ireland and Pfizer provides qualified academic researchers with an opportunity to deliver important potential discoveries in the areas of immunology, oncology, cardiovascular and rare diseases.

Supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award programme has awarded funding to researchers from across three academic institutions in Ireland including the Royal College Surgeons (RCSI), University College Cork (UCC) and University College Dublin (UCD).

In addition to the funding, academic researchers will have the unique opportunity to work with the Pfizer Global Biotherapeutics Technology (GBT) group, at Grangecastle in Dublin, as well as Pfizer’s R&D innovation engine, the Centers for Therapeutic Innovation. The teams’ research will focus on the application of cutting edge technologies for next generation protein therapies.

Speaking at the announcement, Mr Damien English, TD, Minister for Research, Skills and Innovation, said: “The collaboration between Science Foundation Ireland and Pfizer is an excellent example of how government, industry and academia can work together and share knowledge that could lead to the development of new medical breakthroughs not only for Irish patients but for patients worldwide. The Government continues to encourage and welcome programmes that offer opportunities in research and development in Ireland. Innovative partnerships and meaningful collaboration between industry and academia like this also help to build Ireland’s reputation internationally as a location for excellent scientific research.”

Commenting at the announcement, Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said, “We are delighted to continue this successful partnership with Pfizer to support innovative research and development that could help deliver significant advances in critical areas of medical need. The success of the award programme is a reflection of the quality and relevance of academic scientific research in Ireland – excellence and impact.”

Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Paul Duffy, Vice President, Biopharmaceutical Operations and External Supply, Pfizer said, “Pfizer are delighted with the continued collaboration with Science Foundation Ireland. As an organisation we are focused on delivering innovative therapies that significantly improve patients’ lives and investment in early stage research is critical to achieving this. Collaborations between industry and academia remain key in helping to expedite the translation of scientific discoveries into breakthrough therapies that matter for patients in need.”

In 2015, five proposals representing four institutions across Ireland were awarded similar funding. Over the past year the researchers have worked in collaboration with Pfizer colleagues on potential new therapies for diseases including haemophilia, fibrosis, Motor Neuron Disease, psoriasis and Crohn’s disease. A number of these programmes are advancing and are on track to reaching their goals.

 

The recipients of the SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award are:

  • Prof Martin Steinhoff, University College Dublin – Prof Steinhoff leads a translational research team attempting to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying skin inflammation and associated chronic itch, for which there remains a significant unmet clinical need. The team hopes to generate targeting molecules that block the activation of key players in these inflammatory pathways.

 

  • Dr Anne Moore, University College Cork – The remit of Dr Moore’s group is to develop and translate innovative therapies that modulate immune function. Mounting evidence from recent clinical studies demonstrates that harnessing the body’s own immune response to kill tumour cells can be a very effective mechanism to treat cancer. This collaboration aims to develop a novel strategy that enhances the body’s natural anti-tumour response.

 

  • Dr Leonie Young and Prof Arnold Hill, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland – Dr Young and Prof Arnold Hill are interested in the underlying mechanisms that control breast cancer resistance to traditional chemotherapeutics. Their aim is to use pre-clinical models, clinical datasets and breast cancer patient samples to better characterize, and effectively target, treatment resistant breast cancers.

 

END

– See more at: https://www.djei.ie/en/News-And-Events/Department-News/2016/April/13042016d.html#sthash.FlmlNOjn.pmjb6x4D.dpuf

Facebook breaks ground at Clonee Data Centre

Action Plan for Jobs, I.T., Innovation, Jobs, Meath, Research, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills, Trim

6th April 2016

Today, Facebook is pleased to announce that construction began on the company’s newest data centre at Clonee, County Meath. Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D., took part in the ground-breaking ceremony alongside Tom Furlong, VP of Infrastructure at Facebook, Jackie Maguire, CEO Meath County Council, and Brian Fitzgerald, Chairman Meath County Council and Martin Shanahan, CEO IDA.

Development of a second building at the same site was also confirmed, bringing the total size of the facility to 621,000sq ft – the equivalent of 14 Aviva stadiums. The facility, Facebook’s first in Ireland and second in Europe, will become part of the infrastructure that enables billions of people to connect with the people and things they care about on Facebook and across its family of apps and services.

Facebook is also pleased to announce that the new data centre, as well as its international headquarters in Dublin, will be supplied with 100% renewable wind energy from BrookfieldRenewable’s Irish operations. Brookfield owns and operates a portfolio of renewable wind energy projects across Ireland totaling 465 MW and all renewable wind energy supplying Facebook’s facilities in Ireland is located in Ireland.

Ireland has been home to Facebook’s international headquarters since 2009 and the facility at Clonee continues Facebook’s significant investment in the country and in Europe. The company recently announced the creation of a further 200 jobs in Dublin in 2016, to add to the 1,300 employees it currently has.

Tom Furlong, VP of Infrastructure at Facebook, said:

“We’re thrilled to have found a home in Clonee and begin building our new data centre as we continue to expand our infrastructure in Ireland. Everything here has been as advertised — from the strong pool of talent for construction and operations staff; to the great set of community partners who have helped us move forward quickly; to the opportunity to power our facility with 100% renewable wind energy.”

“The new facility will be one of the most advanced and energy-efficient data centres in the world thanks to its cutting-edge Open Compute technology and use of 100 per cent renewable wind energy. The centre will be a crucial part of the infrastructure that helps Facebook connect billions of people around the world.”

 

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English, TD said:

“The Government’s policy of making Ireland an attractive location for investment by the multinational ICT sector had delivered major projects amongst them this new Facebook facility. Ireland has a growing position internationally in the provision of major Data Centres, which represents a fast expanding segment of the IT business. This is contributing to Ireland becoming a major world player in this area and helping to embed and expand the operations of the major Internet companies located here. I welcome Facebooks further commitment to Ireland with their investment in this Meath facility and I wish Facebook and their employees further success in the future. ”

Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council Cllr. Brian Fitzgeraldsaid that this morning’s ceremony was another positive step towards the building of the data centre:

“This is a very important project for Ireland, for Meath and particularly for the community in Clonee, having an internationally recognised company like Facebook in our county sends out a great message that Meath is an attractive place to invest in and to do business.”

Chief Executive, Jackie Maguire again welcomed Facebook to its new European operational base:

“The hard work of all the stakeholders, including IDA Ireland, to attract this world class enterprise to Meath has paid off. This project will bring additional jobs to the county and a welcome stimulus to the local economy. This development sends out a clear message to the business community in Ireland and abroad that Meath is open for business. It confirms that the challenges in our Economic Development Strategy for County Meath 2014 – 2022 are achievable.”

Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA IRELAND said “IDA IRELAND is focused on facilitating investments into regions throughout Ireland. Facebook’s new data centre in Clonee, Co.Meath will provide a significant boost to the local economy – it’s a clear demonstration of the company’s ongoing commitment to Ireland.  When it comes to attracting the world’s best and most efficient data centres, Ireland is proving to be very attractive to the world’s top technology and internet based companies.”

Ralf Rank, Managing Partner at Brookfield, said: 

“With over 10,000 megawatts of operating hydro and wind capacity and a 7,000 megawatt renewable development pipeline globally, we are uniquely positioned to offer consumers long-term, carbon-free renewable power.  We are pleased to have Facebook as our first retail customer in Ireland and welcome the opportunity to work with a corporate leader focused on increasing the  use of renewable power”

– See more at: https://www.djei.ie/en/News-And-Events/Department-News/2016/April/06042016.html#sthash.0sVrJZ8y.7ZpuGGLc.dpuf

Future proofing the Irish economy through Skills, Research & Innovation

Action Plan for Jobs, Apprenticeships, Meath, Research and Innovation, Skills, Uncategorized, Wesmeath

Check Against Delivery

Speech at Fine Gael Ard Fheis – Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation

Fine Gael in Government has a long term economic plan to secure the recovery, put people back to work and build a sustainable robust economy. 200,000, 70,000 returning home.

Firstly we stablised the national finances and created the conditions for a return to growth. People now have hope for the future.

Then we used the Action Plans for Jobs process to drive job creation, creating more than a 1000 jobs a week.

More people in work means more tax revenue to invest in delivering improved and reformed public services.

Make no mistake Ireland is in full recovery mode. We now have the fastest growing economy in Europe.

More importantly more and more Irish people are back working in good jobs with good prospects.

We will not sit back, we can’t take growth for granted. We have to future proof the economy through investment in research and skills.

All the other parties out there are eager to spend the fruits of the recovery but have no plan on how to keep it going.

While they have wish lists, we have a long term economic plan to future proof the economy and prevent a return to the boom and bust.

In a marathon you hit the pain barrier about six miles from the end.

A few years ago the Irish people, and the Irish economy hit the pain barrier but we have kept on going on the road to recovery.

Now a few miles short of the finish line to achieve full employment, who pops up at the final water station with burgers and beers encouraging you to party again but Micheal Martin. When really what you need is an isotonic drink that will steady you and keep you going. Likewise Fine Gael’s Long Term plan is the isotonic drink that will keep the will keep the economy steady and well on the road to full employment.

Fianna Fáil have no economic plan to create jobs, to keep the recovery going. In fact when Micheal Martin was last in charge, Ireland saw 300,000 jobs destroyed.

If we follow his advice, it will be like Groundhog Day and we will be back at the start of the marathon again, with more pain to go through.

Fianna Fails preferred bedfellows are proponents of the Slab Murphy School of Economics.
Keep hitting the honest worker to pay for everthing.

Sinn Fein don’t believe in low taxes for jobs. Instead they believe in the approach taken by Syrzia in Greece, look where that got them.

Put the two together and you get the coalition from hell who will tax and squander the recovery into a savage recession.

Fine Gael know we can’t take growth for granted.

The recovery is not an accident.

The recovery is the result of the hard work and sacrifice of the Irish people good Government and prudent policies.

It’s a tough competitive world out there. Growth in China is slowing, the US stock market is falling, there is crisis of confidence in Europe and the West.

If we take growth for granted we will lose it.

We have to stay competitive and we have to focus on the future.

Which is what I have been doing as Minister for Skills Research and Innovation.

We have been putting in place the strategies to create the jobs of the future and make sure the Irish people have the right skills to fill these jobs.

Last month we published Innovation 2020 Ireland’s strategy to become an global leader in research and innovation.

Already ten percent of Intel’s research is done in Ireland Intel’s new Chips are not just built in Ireland they are designed in Ireland.

Kerry Group are now the world’s leading taste and nutrition company their research is reinventing food to make it tastier and healthier.

Innovation 2020 will ensure more companies do research and create the jobs and the companies of the future in Ireland.

Ireland is now in full recovery mode, and within striking distance of full employment.

As we approach full employment making sure Irish workers have the skills that enterprise needs matters more than ever.

If we are to secure the recovery and future proof the Irish economy we need to put in place a long term skills strategy to ensure all of our people can reach their full potential and play an active role in building a better Ireland.

We are doing just that.

Next week we will publish our new Skills Strategy to ensure the Irish people have the skills to fill the jobs of the future.

This strategy sets an ambitious trajectory for the next ten years for skills development in Ireland.

It marks an important step in the evolution of Ireland’s dual track educational system to a system which fully supports life learning and is more responsive than ever to the changing needs of enterprise.

This strategy is based on partnership with enterprise. We are putting in place regional skills fora to ensure business in every region can tell us they skills they need to grow.

At a National Level we are putting in place a new National Skills Council to use real time intelligence to proactively manage emerging skills gaps.

We are also reinventing Apprenticeships for the 21stCentury to provide a low cost high quality path to good jobs and good careers for our young people.

This year will see the doubling of Apprentice Schemes in a host of new areas like IT and Finance.

I want to stress that Apprenticeships are not some kind of second best option for people who can’t get into college.

They are a tried and tested method of training talented people, just ask former Apprentices like Jamie Oliver or Alex Ferguson.

Fine Gael are committing to delivering 50,000 apprenticeships andtraineeships by 2020.

I have three things I want to ask all you here today to help me with.

Firstly we can’t reach our job creation targets unless we bring our emigrants home.

If you have a son or daughter a niece or nephew or friends working abroad tell them its time to think about coming home.

Secondly if you know young people who are trying to figure out what to do in life. Get them to check out an Apprenticeship.

There are literally thousands of well paying jobs out there for people with the right skills. College is not the only option and often it’s not the best option for a host of well paying jobs.

Finally, canvass hard to get this Government back into office.

Leave no door unknocked and no voter in any doubt of the need to keep Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein as far away from power as possible.

Fianna Fail have squandered one boom Sinn Fein want to turn us into a second Greece.

Only Fine Gael has a long term economic plan and with your hard work and commitment we will deliver it and a better brighter future for this country.

ENDS

 

English and Bruton announce €28 Million Science Foundation Ireland investment in research

Research and Innovation, Science
Investment by the Dept of Jobs through Science Foundation Ireland Supports Ireland’s Expanding Collaborations and Partnerships with Industry and Academia Internationally   

Research Infrastructure for 21 Projects Supports Progression of Exemplary Irish Science in areas including Manufacturing, Big Data, Wireless Technology & Networks, Natural Resources & Hazards, Internet of Things, Marine Renewable Energy and Animal & Human Health.

Ministers English and Bruton Announce Further Commitment to Irish Science & Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland Infrastructure Awards, supporting the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs and its recently announced Science Strategy, Innovation 2020     
 
Birr Castle, Offaly, IRELAND – 12 January 2016
  – The Minister for Jobs, Richard Burton, TD together with the Minister for Research, Innovation and Skills, Damien English, TD today announced details of a €28 million investment in research equipment and facilities through Science Foundation Ireland. A total of 21 exemplary research projects will be supported in sectors including applied geo-sciences, pharmaceutical manufacturing, bio-banking, marine renewable energy, internet of things, astronomy, big data and additive manufacturing using nano-materials.


This infrastructure funding was awarded competitively following rigorous international review to research groups where the research equipment and facilities are required to address major research opportunities and challenges; including partnerships with industry and /or international funders.  This new infrastructure will ensure that Irish researchers continue to be internationally competitive, with access to modern equipment and facilities which will enable them to be successful in securing future funding from leading companies and Europe, including Horizon 2020.  


This investment is made by the Department of Jobs through Science Foundation Ireland.
The 21 infrastructure projects funded were in a range of strategically important sectors as follows: 

Animal & Human Health: Human motion analysis system to facilitate the development of personal sensing connected health technologies for patients and athletes; an early life lab to monitor how the brain grows, develops and repairs in young children; a biobank of 4 million samples to facilitate the discovery and development of new treatments in personalised medicine and nutrition to improve outcomes for mothers and babies; a human performance sensing suite to discover and develop new therapeutic strategies for metabolic and neuromuscular disease; animal and pathogen genomics analysis system to support emergent agri-food research areas such as next generation biomarkers, multiplex diagnostics, and genomic selection breeding programmes;

Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and Networks:
 Low Frequency Array (I-LOFAR) gathering radio images of astronomical objects using advanced image processing and data analytics techniques; a new Ireland-wide wireless network testbed to support new IoT concepts, business models and devices to be developed and tested; a radio testbed for the development and testing of new radio technologies for IoT;  a 400+ Gigabit-per-second communications testbed to enable the development of the next generation core network and datacentre technologies;

Manufacturing:
 additive manufacturing nanomaterial infrastructure for the development of innovative printable materials such as 3D hip and knee implants; a state-of-the-art advanced analysis facility, allowing real-time direct observation of pharmaceutical process reactions as they occur thus supporting drug manufacturing; a crystallization, isolation and drying technology testbed for pharmaceutical manufacturing; splutter disposition tool capable of growing complex, device-quality stacks of metal and oxide thin films for applications such as integrated photonics; infrastructure to support the packaging and assembly of a wide range of miniaturised photonic devices used in data-communications, sensing and point-of-care medical diagnostics.

Natural Resources & Hazards:
 sensing/early-warning system for offshore earthquake and offshore storms, including the quantification of offshore natural resources; electron microscope to determine the microscopic composition of rocks to identify valuable minerals; state of the art X-ray CT scanner to enable the analysis of botanical, geophysical and natural resources; an atmospheric chamber to enable innovative studies on air pollution and climate change.

Marine:
 an Open Ocean Emulator to accurately replicate real ocean wave conditions in a laboratory setting to accelerate growth of the offshore renewable energy industry in Ireland; a remotely operated vehicle to enable the deployment, repair and maintenance of wave and tidal energy devices in the challenging off shore conditions. Speaking at the announcement in Birr, Co Offaly, Minister Bruton said: “At the heart of our Action Plan for jobs is driving employment growth in every region of the country. We have now put in place individual jobs plans for 7 out of the 8 regions in the country, and what has repeatedly become clear is that research and innovation must be accelerated right across the country if we are to deliver the jobs growth we need. Today’s announcement by Science Foundation Ireland is an important part of this.  By investing in world-class R&D infrastructure, both at a regional and national level, this will ensure that we can compete at the highest levels internationally and continue to turn more good ideas into good jobs”.

Commenting on today’s announcements, Minister English said “Today’s investment will advance the implementation of the government’s new science strategy – Innovation 2020. The 21 projects will enable globally compelling research to be undertaken across the country; facilitating greater industry and international collaboration; supporting the training of researchers and demonstrating to an international audience that Ireland on an all island basis, is business friendly and bullish in its pursuit of, and participation in, excellent research.”

 Prof. Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, added, “Ireland is increasingly becoming the location of choice for multinational companies to develop and test tomorrow’s technologies and this investment demonstrates our commitment and expanded ability to engage, discover and collaborate at all levels.  Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support and drive Ireland’s science strategy, Innovation 2020, with the addition of key infrastructure to propel important research projects. Ultimately, this is about providing Irish researchers in strategic areas with the tools to be world leading.”

 

English launches Mid East Action Plan for Jobs to help create 25,000 more jobs in Meath, Kildare and Wicklow

Action Plan for Jobs, Business, Jobs, Meath, Research and Innovation, Skills, Startups, Wesmeath

Fine Gael TD for Meath West and Minister of State at the Department of
Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Damien English has jointly launched
the Action Plan for Jobs for the Mid East region today in Navan.
Minister English, who was joined by the Minister for Jobs, Richard
Bruton TD said that the plan will help create 25,000 more jobs in
Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.

Minister English welcomed the particular focus in this plan that
supports the progression of the Boyne Valley Food Hub in Meath by
Meath Enterprise, Meath County Council and the Institute of
Technologies.  This will serve to enhance the region’s capacity for
food innovation, research and supporting food related industry

“The Mid East Action Plan for Jobs will seek to build on the existing
strengths and assets of each region to maximise enterprise growth and
job creation. The plan also includes investigating the feasibility of
establishing a ‘Foundation for Entrepreneurship’ in County Meath in
collaboration with relevant stakeholders. This would be a very welcome
development for the locality with respect to developing the
entrepreneurship environment here.

“This Government is committed to keeping the recovery going and to
ensuring that it spreads throughout the country. Based on the success
nationally of the Action Plan for Jobs, and the strong buy in to this
process by locally based stakeholders, it is realistic to target
25,000 additional jobs in Meath, Kildare and Wicklow by 2020.

“This means 25,000 extra pay packets coming into communities and
25,000 individuals and families who can afford to lead better lives.
The aim of the national Action Plan for Jobs is to help enterprises to
create employment in all regions of the country. Over 135,000 jobs
have been added to the economy since its launch in February 2012.

“Meath and the Mid East region, with its young and growing population,
highly educated and professionally experienced workforce has the
potential to be one of the fastest growing economic regions in the
country.  Its people and its proximity to Dublin gives the region an
opportunity to offer a world class location which has all of the
advantages of a capital city but with the added advantage of a
significantly lower cost base.

“The key challenge for us in Meath and the Mid East region is to
create additional jobs within the region so that more people who live
in the region can work here.

“Fine Gael has a clear plan to keep the recovery going. More people in
work creates the resources to cut taxes for working people and invest
in better services, improving living standards for all. This will
ensure more people feel the benefits of a recovering economy in their
own lives. The next election will be a choice between those with a
plan to keep the recovery going, or those who will put it at risk
through instability and chaos.

“The Government has committed up to €250 million in funding over the
next five years to support the Regional Action Plans.  I am confident
that the mid east regional Action Plan for Jobs will deliver for Co.
Meath.”

Visit to the BT Young Scientist Exhibition in the RDS

Education, Meath, Research and Innovation, Science, Wesmeath

During the week gone by I visited the BT Young Scientist Exhibition in the RDS.

Now a national institution, it is always an informative and exciting trip, where you really do meet the researchers, inventors, innovators and leaders of the future. I share some more of my thoughts in this video:

I caught up with Meath West entrants to see their work first hand, including three projects from Eureka College Kells, one from St. Joseph’s Secondary School and one from Coláiste Na Mí. Primary schools from Hill of Down, Ashbourne and Delvin also exhibited. It was also good to catch up with the Madden sisters from Summerhill, previous Young Scientists who now have a business of their own called Fenuhealth as a result of their research! The pictures on my Facebook page give a flavour of what we saw: