Skills learned from multinationals can drive growth

10 Jun 2010

Ireland has developed particular technological, manufacturing and managerial capabilities from multinationals in operation here which it can now use to drive economic growth, a new report has suggested.

The Lucerna Project Report on Capability Transformation and Competitiveness, which was launched today, is based on a new industry database developed over three years at the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) at NUI Galway.

The Lucerna database consists of company and product-related information. It includes details from rapidly growing companies, those in transition and foreign multinational subsidiaries and aims to allow for a deeper understanding of technological change and industrial development in Ireland by identifying key industrial clusters that are creating a competitive position for the country.

The database details firms and the products they make – single or multiple – and the sectors they operate in, as many firms, particularly large ones, operate in more than one sector. According to CISC, companies that straddle industry boundaries are most important in understanding industrial change and renewal as firms transition into new industries and products. 

The database, which was funded under the EU’s Marie Curie Transfer of Knowledge programme and reflects a partnership between NUI Galway and the University of Massachusetts, also allows for the examination of technological activities, the specification of technology-related clusters and, most importantly, emerging technologies and technology management capabilities.

Staff at CISC hope that the database they have created will allow policy-makers and academics to answer key questions on the genesis and sustainability of Irish indigenous industry. 

Paul Ryan, CISC principal investigator on the project, said: “The Lucerna project research focuses attention on the real economy, that part that makes up the tax base and the wealth-creation.  It puts the business enterprise at the heart of the innovation story. Successful firms have distinctive capabilities. These can be grouped across localised firms into distinctive regional capabilities. The Lucerna project focuses on   the identification of the origins and development of such capabilities in high-tech firms in Ireland. These can be the foundations on which to build the road to recovery for the real economy.”

Pictured at the launch of the Lucerna Report on Capability and Competiveness at NUI Galway (from left): Dr Paul Ryan, principal investigator, NUIGalway; Frank Ryan, CEO of Enterprise Ireland; and Prof Michael Best, University of Cambridge and University of Massachusetts

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