English congratulates Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur regional finalists from Meath

Action Plan for Jobs, Business, Meath, Startups

Local Meath West Fine Gael T.D. and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English T.D. has congratulated Meath’s regional finalists in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition run by the Local Enterprise Offices of each Local Authority in Ireland. The prize giving by Minister English for the North Eastern Regional Final was held in Cabra Castle Hotel, Kingscourt on Tuesday night 3rd November.

Minister English commented: “A total of 165 young entrepreneurs across Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath entered IBYE 2015. Almost half of the entrants have completed an intensive business bootcamp, giving them the opportunity to refine their ideas and develop their business plans further. Those entrants who did not participate in bootcamps are being offered other enterprise services by their LEO such as business advice meetings or training programmes. I am delighted that our County winners from Meath, who are now Regional Finalists, have also been able to avail of a total of €50,000 in funding in each County.”

Representing Meath in the category of Best Business Idea in the North Eastern region was Laura Browne, aged 21, from Tara, with her business Waterscout. Waterscout will develop a water usage monitoring system for industrial clients, initially focusing on data centres.

Representing Meath in the category of Best Start Up Business was Rachel Darby, aged 26, from Navan, with her business The Bubblins. Established in 2013, The Bubblins is a brand based around fictional characters that come from bubbles. Aimed at children between the ages of 4 and 7, they have already launched a picture book called ‘Can I play’? Their aim is to create a T.V. series based around the Bubblin characters along with developing Bubblin merchandise.

Representing Meath in the category of Best Established Business was Diarmuid Gryson, aged 24, from Tara with his business Envirosoil. Established in 2013, Envirosoil produce user-friendly compost for farmers, which is also environmentally-friendly. It is used for soil conditioning and as an alternative soil fertiliser. The company currently employs 5 people and has sold over 20,000 tonnes of compost in 2015. Future plans include selling to garden centres and landscape gardeners.

Minister English concluded by saying that Laura, Rachel and Diarmuid, and their companies were great Ambassadors for Meath, and its potential as a hub for innovation, investment and local sustainable jobs.

Minister English’s Budget 2016 Speech

Action Plan for Jobs, Apprenticeships, Budget 2016, Business, Education, I.T., Jobs, Meath, Research and Innovation, Skills, Speeches, Startups, Wesmeath

On Wednesday night 14th October I addressed the Dáil on Budget 2016:

This budget is designed to support the recovery, hard pressed families and begin future proofing the economy.

This budget is neither the hair shirt budget that some Economists have called for, nor is the silk shirt that the opposition seem to think we can afford, rather it is a prudent budget that will create jobs.

It will remove barriers to work and make work pay, grow the economy and keep the recovery going while reducing the current account deficit.

Business in Ireland has welcomed this budget. Danny McCoy of IBEC said “The budget is right for the economy at this time and signals a new phase of economic development. The crisis is behind us and we are planning ahead. The Government has taken on board the concerns of business, reduced tax and encouraged private investment.”

ISME and the SFA have also welcomed the Budget. The SFA Chairman, A J Noonan stated “This Budget is a strong endorsement by Government of the importance of entrepreneurship and small business in Ireland.”

But this is not just a budget for business and jobs, it is also a budget for our young families.

My constituency of Meath West has one of the highest concentrations of young families in the country, with a youth dependency ratio of over 38%.

You only have to walk around the streets of Navan, Trim or Enfield to see just how young our communities are. Our young population means we can look forward to a more hopeful future, but families cannot live on hope alone.

They need help now and this budget does just that.

Cutting USC, raising child benefit, and extending the free preschool scheme to accommodate all three to five year olds will benefit young families in Meath West and throughout the country.

These families endured a lot of the pain in the recession it is only right that they get some of the gain from the national recovery.

Talk to any parent on the doorsteps in Meath West – education and the future of our children is a major focus. This budget will reduce class sizes; it will recruit an additional 2,260 teachers.

This budget will deliver a better education to our children and will invest in career guidance. This will help our children chose the courses and the skills they need to get a good job and build a better future.

With this budget young school leavers will now have a lot more choice in their career paths.

We are investing an additional €10.5m to effectively double the number of Apprenticeship Schemes available in Ireland.

These 25 new Apprenticeship Schemes will cover areas such as

ICT,

Transport and Logistics,

Financial Services,

Tourism and Hospitality

and the bulk of these will be delivered in 2016.

We need to refocus the third level system to create a more enterprise responsive educational system; we need to provide the skills that students and industry require.

Future proofing the Economy is all about building skills at all levels including our pool of research skills.

Ireland’s future economic growth and prosperity will depend on our continued investment in science, technology and innovation.

This investment is all about developing:

A competitive knowledge based economy and society;

Driving innovation in enterprise;

Building human capital

And maximising the return on R&D investment for economic and social progress.

Investment in research and development is crucial for creating and maintaining high-value jobs.

In addition to the investment announced yesterday, my Department will be allocating an additional €29m specifically for investment in research and innovation to spend before the end of this year.

In addition to this, the overall 2016 capital investment will allow Enterprise Ireland to:

Support 100 Innovative High Potential start Up Companies in 2016 employing 2,000 people.

Issue six Competitive Start Fund calls with a target of financially supporting 85 innovative entrepreneurs.

Fund over 100 in-company R&D projects for companies that are valued in excess €100,000, and

Continue the development of Knowledge Transfer Ireland and the wider national Technology Transfer system to create 30 new spinout companies

For Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the 2016 allocation will:

Continue to fund the 12 SFI Research Centres, which represents an investment of €355m from the government and €190m from over 200 industry partners.

Train some 3000 researchers for key positions in Industry

Science Foundation Ireland will also undertake a recruitment campaign in partnership with the Irish Universities to attract world-class researchers.

I am pleased that Ireland’s participation in the European Space Agency (ESA) will continue to support a growing number of Irish companies in the rapidly expanding European and Global space markets. In this sector we will see:

A doubling of sales to over €80m

A rise in total employment to over 2,300, and

An expansion in the number of companies actively engaged with ESA to over 75

We are competing in an ever more competitive global environment. I am therefore pleased to report that work is almost complete on a new Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation.

It is now time for fresh strategic ideas to make research work to maximum effect for the country.

The vision for the new Strategy will be underpinned by 5 key goals:

an internationally competitive research system;

excellent research with relevance and impact for the economy and for society;

a renowned pool of talent in both academia and industry;

a joined-up research eco-system, responsive to emerging opportunities;

and a strong innovative enterprise base, growing employment, sales and exports.

We need to ensure that we have a world leading state-of-the-art research and innovation ecosystem in Ireland.

I am confident that the upcoming Strategy will provide us with the roadmap to deliver on this ambition for Ireland.

To conclude a Leas Ceann Comhairle,

This Budget charts a responsible, prudent path to fiscal stability, economic growth and opportunity.

The Budget marks a new stage in Ireland’s road to full recovery and a more sustainable future.

It will support that recovery and will begin to future proof the economy.

I commend this budget to the House and to the country.

Minister English comments on Dept. of Enterprise Budget 2016

Action Plan for Jobs, Business, I.T., Jobs, Research and Innovation, Startups

Budget 2016 “hits the bullseye for startups, entrepreneurs and jobs”, as it incentivises innovative startups, rewards successful entrepreneurs and makes sure that the jobs that are created will really pay, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD said today. He was joined at a post Budget Press Conference by Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English T.D.

Minister English said: “Ireland’s future economic growth and prosperity will depend in very large measure on our continued investment in science technology and innovation. This investment is all about developing a competitive knowledge based economy and society, driving innovation in enterprise, building human capital and maximising the return on R&D investment for economic and social progress. Over the past number of years Ireland has built up a strong science base which has yielded results in terms of economic and societal impact. In Budget 2016 the Government is building on this success by prioritising the funding available for research, development and innovation. It also aims to maximise the impact of this investment on jobs and on the economy. A new science and innovation strategy under development will provide the roadmap for the next phase of Government investment”.

Among the new pro-jobs taxation measures announced today are:

  • Reduced Capital Gains Tax rate of 20% for successful entrepreneurs
  • Reductions in the USC affecting middle-income workers and creating jobs
  • Income tax credit of €550 for self-employed people, with improvements in future years
  • Knowledge Development Box – globally ‘best in class’ and first OECD-compliant scheme,competitive rate of 6.25% on qualifying income, benefits for SMEs, in place from 1st Jan 2016
  • Extension of tax relief for start-up companies
  • Employment and Investment Incentive scheme to increase availability of investment finance for business – extension of scheme to include all geographical locations, and increase thresholds

Minister English officially welcomes Regional Action Plan for Jobs Forum to Navan

Action Plan for Jobs, Business, Farming, Funding, Meath, Navan, Research and Innovation, Skills, Speeches, Startups, Tourism
Minister English, Minister Bruton and Tom Hayes Enterprise Ireland Divisional Manager Regions and Micro Enterprises at the Mid East APJ Stakeholder Forum held in the Ardboyne Hotel, Navan

Minister English, Minister Bruton and Tom Hayes Enterprise Ireland Divisional Manager Regions and Micro Enterprises at the Mid East APJ Stakeholder Forum held in the Ardboyne Hotel, Navan

This morning the Ardboyne Hotel in Navan plays host to the Action Plan for Jobs Mid East Stakeholder Forum which will help to formulate and develop a Regional Action Plan to build on the existing strengths and opportunities within the Meath, Kildare and Wicklow Region. Local Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation was on hand to officially welcome business people, policy makers and fellow politicians to his hometown.

“Meath is linked with the Dublin Region but we are also a County of many unique strengths and talents in our own right. We are ideally located to interact and engage not just with Dublin, but with a number of other regions particularly the Border, Midlands and South East” Minister English told the gathering this morning.

“This Mid East region including Meath now has an unemployment rate of 8.7% which is second only to Dublin amongst all the regions and well below the national figure of 9.8%. This represents a very significant achievement when one considers that in 2012, when the Action Plan for jobs was first launched, the unemployment rate for the region stood at close to 14%. However we need to continue to build on this progress” Minister English said.

“Meath’s connectivity with all regions represents a particular strength that we should seek to build upon. We have a strong diversified enterprise mix with a range of outstanding forward thinking companies and businesses operating across a range of different sectors. Meath Enterprise and Meath County Council’s vision of a Boyne Valley Food Hub as a centre of national and internationally innovation excellence in food is another example of the forward thinking vision of Meath people, which was again highlighted today” Minister English said.

We have a large highly skilled and well-educated workforce. We have a strong ETB aligned to local needs, and a new stand alone Dunboyne Post Leaving Cert. College, with good access to a wide variety of other Higher Education Institutes in surrounding regions. We also have wonderful cultural, heritage and tourist assets that are world-renowned. These are just some of the assets and strengths we possess in the region and no doubt more will be identified during the course of this morning’s Forum. The challenge today is to identify how we can capitalise on all of these strengths. But it is a challenge I know the local business community, local educators and local policy makers are well able for” stated the local Minister.

“Nationally, in the forthcoming Budget, and in future Budgets, and also through the new Capital plan 2016-2021 we will be supporting and rewarding work and enterprise through reducing the burden of tax and reforming our public spending so it best serves the consumer” concluded Minister English.

English launches Enfield Enterprise Town

Business, Enfield, Meath, Startups

“Focus of Budget 2016 and future Budgets will be on calling our Diaspora home” – Minister English tells Enfield Enterprise Town event

Local Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, and Meath West Fine Gael T.D. Damien English told the launch of the Bank of Ireland Enfield Enterprise Town event on Friday 9th October that the focus of Budget 2016, the new Capital Investment Plan 2016-2021 and future Budgets will be on rewarding work, and calling our Diaspora back home to Ireland.

Minister English was speaking as he cut the ribbon to officially launch the Bank of Ireland Enfield Enterprise Town weekend of events, which included an exhibition of local businesses, as well as strong participation by local schools and local sporting organisations, all designed to promote a pride of place and show off Enfield’s enterprising spirit.

“Job creation is at the heart of what the Government is doing. In my own Departments – the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and the Department of Education and Skills – we have sought to strengthen the enterprise base and the skills base of companies throughout Ireland, particularly with those companies that have the potential to create new jobs and win new export markets” Minister English said.

“Ireland is once again becoming an attractive place to live and work. We hope to build on this progress and make work more rewarding through favourable taxation measures in the forthcoming Budget, and future Budgets, and begin to attract our talented Diaspora home. We are aiming to increase employment by 40,000 per annum to 2020, bringing the numbers at work to 2.1 million. We know we can achieve this if we continue to pursue sound and sustainable economic policies. We know, also, that in the so-called global “War for Talent”, we need to be proactive if we are to find the people with the right skills and knowledge to fill the jobs that will come on stream over the next 5 years” he told the gathering.

“I want to commend the Enfield community and their local Bank of Ireland on their EnfieldEnterprise Town weekend of events. It feeds into and compliments the Government’s work to spread jobs more evenly across the country through the Regional Action Plans for Jobs which seek to build on the strengths and opportunities of each region in the country. The strength and proactive spirit of the Enfield community is also reflected in its success in attaining Sports Capital Grant funding of €220,000 for Na Fianna Football and Hurling Club and Enfield Celtic FC” he concluded.

Successful Bank of Ireland Enterprise Town events have already taken place in Meath in Athboy and Kells. Other guests at the weekend of events in Enfield included Mairead McGuinness MEP, Newstalk’s Sarah Carey, GAA legends Henry Shefflin and Mickey Harte, as well as local and County footballers.

Over €3billion for capital investment in enterprise and job-creation over lifetime of capital plan

Business, Funding, I.T., Jobs, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills, Startups

Investment will allow full delivery of comprehensive regional jobs plans

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Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD together with along with the Minister of State for Business & Employment Ged Nash TD and the Minister of State for Research, Innovation and Skills Damien English TD today welcomed the publication of the capital plan, and announced the provision of a total of over €3billion in capital investment in projects under the remit of their Department over the period 2016-2021.

Minister English said: “The Government’s Capital programme is an investment in future proofing the economy and building a sustainable recovery not only for business but for the Irish people. The plan will underpin our economic and social development for the years to come. This Government has protected investment in research and innovation throughout its term and we have a strong base now on which to build.  Our forthcoming science, technology and innovation strategy will set the policy direction for the next phase of our investment and will complement the investment in physical infrastructure being announced today”.

The plan published today allocates a total of €3.01billion to capital projects under the Department of Jobs, and represents an average annual increase of €20.6million on his Department’s allocation for 2014 – a year when the agencies under his Department delivered a record 19,500 extra jobs. When the arrangement on own resource income is taken into account the annual figure will be significantly higher again.

Minister Bruton will outline the full breakdown of the Department’s capital programme for 2016 on Budget Day. He stressed today that the allocations announced today will allow his Department and its agencies to continue to deliver the programmes of activities which have support record levels of job-creation and exports over recent years, as well as the comprehensive programme of regional jobs plans commenced earlier this year. These plans outlined a total investment of €250million in IDA business parks, advance facilities, and Enterprise Ireland regional funds.

Minister Bruton said: “Over the past three years, employment in companies supported by my Department has risen by well over 40,000 – meaning that almost half of the total increase in employment over that time has been accounted for directly by companies supported by my Department. Those companies have also delivered record exports over that time. Today’s capital plan is about building on that record and bringing it to the next level – accelerating jobs growth in every region of the country, and delivering our aim of sustainable full employment.

“The allocation announced for our Department is a significant increase on the figures which have allowed us to deliver those record results. It will not mean that we will abandon the prudence and the smart use of resources that we have shown over the past four years. However it will allow us to plan for the future, secure the recovery and deliver the job-creation that will make possible everything else that we as a Government want to do over the coming years”.

Minister Nash said: “Job creation remains our number one priority in this Department and the capital programme we are announcing today will ensure that our agencies, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices have the funding they need to build on the record levels of job creation we have all worked so hard to achieve in recent years.  My focus is also firmly on ensuring that the jobs these agencies are helping to create are decent sustainable jobs which enable all workers to have a decent standard of living.”

Irish Times Op Ed: Degree not the only path to a decent job

Apprenticeships, Business, Education, I.T., Jobs, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills, Startups

In the past prejudice stopped many Irish people getting good jobs. We are all familiar with stories of job notices with “No Irish need apply”. Today prejudice is still stopping Irish people getting good jobs, but now it’s our own. There is a widespread but ill-informed attitude in Ireland that sees a university qualification as the only passport to a decent job, and apprenticeships and vocational training as a poor alternative.

In reality there is a very high and growing demand for people with vocational skills. For example, 48,000 people now work in the logistics sector, and over the next five years they will be joined by another 13,500 to 15,500 workers as the sector expands.

The skill levels needed to work in the sector are increasing. Complex computer management systems and highly automated warehouses are all leading to a demand for skilled staff.

Ireland now has one of the highest proportions of people with a third-level degree in the EU. According to Eurostat, more than half of 30- to 34-year-olds (51.1 per cent) in Ireland have completed third level compared to a European average of 35.8 per cent of 30- to 34-year-olds who had completed tertiary education.

The third-level system and the graduates it produces have been key to our economic success. However, problems are beginning to emerge with the current system. The overemphasis on university is stopping thousands of young people from learning saleable skills and building worthwhile careers. Instead they are being encouraged into courses for which they are ill-suited.

One result is that on average 15 per cent of students drop out after first year (22 per cent from ITs, 9 per cent from universities and 4 per cent from teacher-training colleges). This is a waste both of the students’ time, and taxpayers’ and parents’ money.

Overqualified

In addition, a recent OECD report suggests 42 per cent of people in Ireland work in an area that does not match their qualification. This is above the OECD average; more importantly, about half of these people are also defined as overqualified for the jobs they are actually doing. The report estimates the cost of this mismatch to the economy at about €1.5 billion.

There are also growing concerns, among employers, about skill shortages in key areas and graduates who are sometimes not prepared for the real world of work.

We have a very good education system but there are significant gaps in how we build skills in Ireland. Academic ability is not the only valuable talent and not every profession is best learnt in an academic setting. Business needs people with strong practical skills, and apprenticeships and vocational training are key to delivering these.

We need to recalibrate the third-level educational system to focus more on learning by doing and on-the-job training if we are to address these issues.

I believe we have a lot to learn from the German and Swiss models of education. German high-school students have a choice of 344 trades where they do an apprenticeship. In Switzerland 70 percent of all 15- to 19-year-olds participate in an apprenticeship, with a 91 per cent completion rate. Moreover, in the Swiss system apprentices are also able to leapfrog to a degree and about 10 per cent do a baccalaureate or top up their training academically.

As a result both countries have lower levels of youth unemployment and large pools of talented, skilled workers.

I would like to see major moves to strengthen our dual-track third-level education in Ireland: moves designed to develop the talents of all our people, providing students with the skills to thrive in a rapidly changing environment and the opportunity to easily switch tracks as appropriate during their careers.

I want a system where both tracks are equally valued and respected, where a talented student with academic ability may well choose to go down the vocational route because it offers as good, or a better, way to develop their career as the university route does. I would like to see a much more enterprise-responsive education system to provide the skills that students and industry require.

Harmful prejudice

The establishment of Solas, the further education and training authority, has provided a foundation stone on which we can build a real dual system. It is charged with planning, funding, and championing the sector.

For Solas to succeed it needs to focus on talent, excellence and impact. Solas is in the talent business, and Ireland needs skilled workers just as much as it needs skilled graduates. The courses and training it funds must be world class, to persuade students to invest their time, and industry to invest its money in training.

Solas also needs demonstrate, with hard data and case studies, to the market, to students, and not least of all to parents, the impact of its work and the value (and affordability) of vocational training.

This summer, with my colleague Minister Jan O’Sullivan, I announced plans to double the number of apprenticeship schemes by next spring. It will, I hope, be both a first step in the journey to a truly dual system of third-level education and the first nail in the coffin of an outdated and harmful prejudice.

Damien English is Minister of State with special responsibility for skills, research and innovation

Letter to the Editor of the Meath Chronicle: Jobs growth is putting lives back on track locally and nationally

Business, Jobs, Meath, Navan, Startups, Tourism

Friday, 11th September 2015

Jobs growth is putting lives back on track locally and nationally

Dear Editor,

Much of the recent commentary on jobs growth in Ireland ignores the findings of the Central Statistics Office which is independent of Government. There are many myths out there that must be challenged for the sake of fairness. Firstly though I want to say unemployment is still far too high. Whilst much progress has been made, this Government will continue to prioritise job creation until we return to full employment.

The CSO tells us we have had 11 consecutive quarters of jobs growth in Ireland. Total employment is up 126,000 since the Action Plan for Jobs was launched in February 2012. Locally here in Meath the Live Register has dropped by 27.7% or 3,229 people since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012, one of the biggest drops in the country.

Of the extra people now at work, 91% of them are full time.  Many of these people have good conditions and prospects. Over 70% are in occupations described as management, professional, technical or skilled tradespersons according to the CSO

Over 52,000 new jobs are in the IDA and EI supported companies where pay is above average.

Commendably, 35,000 people have had the courage to set up new businesses of their own, and we must encourage more of this.

The hospitality sector, which is up 15,000 jobs, does have a higher percentage of lower paid workers. However, this sector also has a really important regional spread of new jobs.

The total number of unemployed now stands at 211,000, or 9.5%, down from a high of 15.1%. The number of long-term unemployed has fallen by 81,000, down almost 60%.

Again, despite the myths, the CSO tells us that 64% of new jobs are outside Dublin.  Employment in IDA companies and in EI companies is growing in every region.

Young people were most severely impacted by the crash. Net emigration among young people peaked at 20,000, but is now down by 56%. In 2015, of the young people who emigrated, only 14% were unemployed before they left, 48% were at work and 30% were students according to the CSO.

The value of education is underlined by the CSO. Those who study beyond 2nd-level have half the unemployment rate of early school leavers.  With 25 new Apprenticeships unveiled by my Department for roll out by 2016, there are now more training options for young and old than ever before, especially for those with a more vocational skillset.

My target as a local T.D., and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, is that everyone who wants a job should have one, and that by 2018, all of the jobs lost in the downturn should be replaced. Every new job means a life, a family and our wider community is back on track.

Yours sincerely,

Damien English T.D.

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation,

20, Watergate St.,

Navan.

Steady economic recovery continues with 27.7% drop in Live Register in Meath since 2012  – Minister English

Jobs, Meath, Navan, Research and Innovation, Skills, Startups

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation and Meath West Fine Gael T.D. Damien English has said that a 27.7% drop in the Meath Live Register since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012 indicates the steady growth in the economy in Meath, and it represents one of the biggest drops in the country.

“Each week in 2015 over 1,300 jobs have been added to the economy showing that the Government’s plan to get the economy back on track is working. All regions have experienced job increases and unemployment decreases in the past year, meaning that the recovery is spreading to all parts of the country.

“The latest CSO Live Register figures show that the number of people signing on in Meath has dropped by 27.7% or 3,229 people since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012. 125,000 new jobs have been added across the country.

“While there is still more work to be done, the recovery is spreading to all parts of the country, and it is important that we work hard to continue to support further growth. A steady, stable and sustainable economy is that the people of Meath need and deserve. This is what the Government is committed to achieving.

“The Government is on track to replace all the jobs lost in the crisis by 2018 and to bring about a situation where there will be more Irish people coming back home to take up jobs.

“There is no doubt that more jobs and opportunities are needed here in Meath but the Live Register figures are very encouraging. However the recovery is still fragile and there are still people who have not felt its benefits.

“Fine Gael in government has cut the USC and reduced the income tax rate. It is important that we continue to add more jobs and to make work pay by reducing the tax burden further. We cannot risk a move back to the ‘if we have it, we’ll spend it’, high tax Fianna Fáil policies.”

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: www.photonicsireland.ie