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.”

Five researchers receive funding to examine potential for new biotherapeutic breakthroughs under the SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award programme

Research and Innovation, Science

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) today announced funding of €1.9 million in a partnership with leading international pharmaceutical company Pfizer to encourage new biotherapeutic research in Ireland. Supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation (DJEI), the SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award programme provides qualified academic researchers with an opportunity to deliver important potential discoveries in the areas of immunology and rare diseases. Five proposals in four academic institutions in Ireland have been identified to receive funding as part of the programme.

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, and NUI Maynooth will have the opportunity to work with the Pfizer Global Biotherapeutics Technology (GBT) group, including at the Pfizer site at Grangecastle in Dublin. Their research will focus on the development of the next generation of potential protein therapies for diseases including haemophilia, fibrosis, Motor Neurone Disease, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation, Mr. Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Professor James O’Donnell, Trinity College Dublin and Dr. William Finlay, Director of Global Biotherapeutics Technologies, Pfizer

Commenting on the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said, “At the heart of SFI’s Agenda 2020 strategy is the funding of excellent scientific research that may impact both society and the economy. Innovative partnerships between industry and academia are crucial if we are to continue to share knowledge that could lead to the development of new medical breakthroughs. This collaboration with Pfizer will enable the blending of expertise from five leading Irish academic researchers with Pfizer’s drug discovery and development capabilities and could help deliver significant, accelerated advances in critical areas of biomedical research.”

Dr. William Finlay, Director of Global Biotherapeutics Technologies, Pfizer, said, “At Pfizer, we recognise that key to delivering potential therapies for patients is collaborating with other innovators in the health ecosystem in unique ways. Seeking the best research and with flexibility in how we partner, we are more focused on identifying, developing, and securing innovation in creative ways such as our collaboration with SFI. By establishing and fostering partnerships with academic thought leaders through SFI, it is hoped that we can help to accelerate the development of innovative biotherapeutic concepts for patients with unmet medical needs”.

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

  • Professor James O’Donnell, Trinity College Dublin – Professor O’Donnell’s research focuses on the discovery of a therapy for Haemophilia A, an inherited disease which results in uncontrolled bleeding. It is hoped that the therapy will improve patients’ quality of life and improve disease management.
  • Professor Padraic Fallon, Trinity College Dublin – Professor Fallon is seeking to develop a therapy that will modify the immune response to prevent fibrosis or scarring of organs after an immune attack, which can occur from diseases including asthma, cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, and liver cirrhosis.
  • Professor Jochen Prehn, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland – Motor Neurone Disease is a devastating and fatal neurological condition with no cure. Professor Prehn’s research is focused on developing a new therapy that it is hoped will increase patients’ lifespan and motor function, leading to an increase in quality of life.
  • Professor Paul Moynagh, NUI Maynooth – Uncontrolled inflammation causes diseases like Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Professor Moynagh’s research programme aims to develop potential new drugs that may treat some of these currently incurable inflammatory diseases.
  • Professor Martin Steinhoff, University College Dublin – Professor Steinhoff’s research focuses on severe skin diseases caused by inflammation, for which he hopes to develop a new therapy that targets the immune response.