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:

Minister English Launches New Innovation & Entrepreneurial Skills Pilot Programme to Equip Nation with ‘New Economy’ Life Skills

Jobs, Research and Innovation, Skills, Startups

Damien English, TD, Minister of State for Skills, Research & Innovation attends the first pilot of the Innovation & Entrepreneurial Skills Passport at CIT.

Thursday, 9th July 2015: The first Innovation & Entrepreneurial Skills passport programme was launched today as a pilot programme at Cork Institute of Technology by Startup Ireland, a national not-for-profit organisation dedicated to championing the growth of the startup sector throughout Ireland.The Innovation & Entrepreneurial Skills Passport is an entry level, competence based, introduction to the development of key entrepreneurial life skills, essential to the ‘new economy’ in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Developed by Startup Ireland, it has been designed to boost these skills across all areas of the economy and society, a need highlighted in the 2013 Entrepreneurship Forum Report. The Passport includes modules on Getting Started, Creativity with Design Thinking, Finance, Self-awareness and Opportunity Recognition.

Speaking at the inaugural Innovation & Entrepreneurial Skills Passport programme today, Minister of State for Skills, Research & Innovation, Damien English T.D. said “The Innovation and Entrepreneurial Skills Passport is an exciting initiative that will help people think of entrepreneurship as an immediate career choice, rather than something that they may consider further down the line. It will help boost entrepreneurship across all areas of the economy and society and help create the entrepreneurial talent pipeline across Ireland.  The passport will enable early talent spotting and will give the foundation needed for those with new and innovative ideas to create a startup business”

“The ability to be more entrepreneurial and innovative in a rapidly changing environment is an essential life skill. Having the right skills set and a good grounding on the practicalities of starting and scaling a business, greatly increases the success rates. We are focused on helping to make Ireland one of the best countries to start, scale and succeed from and the Innovation & Entrepreneurial Skills passport will play an important role in achieving this ambition.” said Eoin Costello, CEO of Startup Ireland.

Speaking at the event, Dr Breda Kenny, Head of CIT’s Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence said “In CIT we have a proven track record in supporting start-ups and entrepreneurial activity, so we are delighted to be part of this national event.  We very much welcome the opportunity to engage further in entrepreneurship education and training initiatives to support current and future entrepreneurs.”
Commenting on today’s event in Cork, Siobhán Finn Project Director with Cork innovates thanked all those involved saying that “tremendous work is being done by Startup Ireland across the country and such collaborative projects as this current Passport is a demonstration of what can be achieved by many groups working together on a common goal; in this case elevating Ireland to the position of leading global startup hub by 2020’.

Launched as a pilot programme today, the Innovation & Entrepreneurial Skills Passport will be rolled out across Ireland during the week of the Startup Gathering.

Set to be one of the biggest national startup events in the world, Startup Gathering 2015 will take place across Ireland from the 5th to 10th October, with over 50 events being planned across 5 days, 5 industries and 5 cities, Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford, with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship and helping to develop world class regional startup hubs around the existing industry strengths in each region to accelerate the growth of startups and scaleups in Ireland.

A major initiative of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2015, and a key building block towards making Ireland a global startup hub by 2020, Startup Gathering 2015 is being led by Startup Ireland with the support of supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Bank of Ireland, a key strategic partner.