Government adds €100m to the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund

5 Jul 2019

From left: Minister Patrick O’Donovan, TD; Minister Pascal Donohoe, TD; and Minister Heather Humphreys, TD. Image: Oisin McHugh/True Media

So far, 27 successful projects have received funding under the DTIF in areas such as the development of household electricity generation, sepsis treatments, coastal flooding supports and medical 3D printing.

This morning (5 July), TDs met at University of Limerick to host a flagship event on the impact of technological change on Irish businesses.

The TDs in attendance were Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD; Minister for Finance, and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe, TD; and Minister of State for Finance, and Public Expenditure and Reform Patrick O’Donovan, TD.

At the event, the TDs launched Pillar 1 of the new whole-of-Government plan, Future Jobs Ireland, which will focus on positioning Ireland as a leader in innovation and technology adoption.

Future Jobs Ireland

Pillar 1 of Future Jobs Ireland looks at the challenges ahead in terms of ensuring Ireland has skilled people working in quality jobs in sustainable sectors. It also ensures that enterprises and workers are well positioned to adapt to the technological and other transformational changes our economy and society will face in the coming years.

Humphreys said: “Pillar 1 of Future Jobs Ireland is about ensuring Ireland can stay ahead of the game. We are currently experiencing a technological revolution, which will have a profound impact on our world for decades to come, and we need to keep up to speed.”

She then went on to note the changes technology is making across sectors such as manufacturing, finance, retail and transport. “Taking the workforce as an example, according to a recent study by the OECD, Irish workers will face a 46pc chance that their job will be automated by the 2030s,” she added.

Future Jobs Ireland has four other pillars, which will eventually focus on improving SME productivity; enhancing skills, and developing and attracting talent; increasing participation in the labour force; and transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

DTIF goals

At today’s event, the Government also launched the second round of the €500m Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF), which will act as a driver of Pillar 1 of Future Jobs Ireland. It was also announced that another €100m was being made available under the DTIF for three-year projects to 2022.

The DTIF is a €500m Project Ireland 2040 fund confirmed under the National Development Plan, which is being managed by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, as well as Enterprise Ireland, which is providing administrative support.

The goal of this fund is to drive collaboration between Ireland’s world-class research base and industry, as well as facilitating enterprises to compete directly for funding in support of the development and adoption of these technologies. It aims to support investment in the development and deployment of disruptive technologies and applications on a commercial basis.

In the first round, the fund allocated €75m to 27 projects, and received expressions of interest from more than 300 different candidates. The 27 successful projects cover areas such as household electricity generation, sepsis treatments, coastal flooding supports and medical 3D printing.

“Ireland needs to maintain its position as a technical leader in a modern, global economy. The investment that I and the Government have made available through this initiative for co-funded projects will help us to achieve that objective in the coming years,”said Donohoe.

O’Donovan added: “The significant investments associated with the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund and the Future Jobs Ireland programme demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that Ireland remains among the global leaders in innovation.”

Applications for the DTIF are open until 3pm on Wednesday 18 September 2019. The fund is available to applicants requesting funding of €1.5m or more for projects lasting up to three years. Enterprise partners must provide matched funding.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic