Intel creates 134 jobs in Shannon as part of €50m expansion

27 Feb 2009

Global chip giant Intel is to create 134 R&D jobs in a major expansion of its operation facility in the Shannon Free Zone, bringing total employment at the facility to 300 over the next four years.

The news is particularly welcome for the local economy as it comes just a week after Intel announced that 200–300 jobs could be lost at its Leixlip manufacturing facility.

Intel is one of Ireland’s largest employers with over 5,000 people working directly for the company here.

The Intel investment will involve two separate R&D projects. The first is a new hardware project involving Advanced 32-nanometre (nm) Silicon Design and Validation, which aims to enable the next generation of products and provide small to medium-sized businesses with a combination of improved performance, power efficiency, footprint savings and cost-effectiveness. The project will deliver a new chip with a significantly improved design for embedded applications.

The second project is a software development project, extending Intel QuickAssist Technology to address price and power consumption constraints. When these software products come on stream, they will have a range of benefits for segments such as automotive and security.

“This investment comes as a result of our world-class track record of R&D over the past eight years, our highly developed technical marketing competencies and also our success in attracting the highest quality research talent, domestically and internationally,” explained Jonathan Walsh, general manager of Intel Shannon.

“This further enables Intel to deliver products that show a significant leap over competing products, providing an outstanding combination of performance, power efficiency, savings and cost effectiveness. The leading-edge 32nm design capabilities being developed in Shannon are key to Intel supporting the unprecedented growth in the market for embedded processors.

“Intel predicts that there will be 15 billion connected devices by the year 2015. Our continued growth will be fuelled by the availability of top-class engineering graduate and postgraduate students,” he said.

“This further investment in the Intel Embedded Lab Europe in Shannon advances research and innovation in Europe, and allows us to collaborate with customers and universities to improve overall European competitiveness. Intel Shannon is a key member of the Intel Labs Europe network,” Walsh added.

Intel Ireland general manager Jim O’Hara said the investment is a testament to how the Shannon team, working with Intel’s manufacturing facility in Leixlip, has been gearing itself up to take on ever increasing challenges and responsibilities for more of the development process.

“Yes, we are facing significant challenges in the global economic environment, ” he said, “However, it is important to recognise that we have weathered cyclical slowdowns before, most notably at the beginning of this decade with the fallout from the ICT shock, just as the Shannon operation came into existence.

“In our highly competitive and rapidly changing global markets, success is hard-earned, establishing a high-performing team with strong technical, managerial and leadership skills is critical to being able to build new products that lead in the marketplace. This makes a genuine contribution to the advancement of Ireland and of Ireland in Europe,” O’Hara added.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan TD, said knowledge is the key to competitive advantage in smart economies.

“Growing the level of R&D investment by new and existing multinationals in Ireland is a key Government priority.

“Today’s investment announcement by Intel gives very real meaning to our ambition to develop Ireland’s smart economy, and is a wonderful testament to the highly talented skills base at Intel Shannon,” said Coughlan.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years