Ireland and India strike science and tech deals


19 Jan 2006

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Ireland and India have signed a government agreement on scientific and technological co-operation, it emerged this afternoon. The agreement has been signed during a trade mission to India led by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD. The Irish Software Association (ISA) has also moved to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with its Indian counterpart NASSCOM.

India is becoming a fast-rising star in the technology world with global tech giants establishing major operations in the country and has much in common with Ireland in the worlds of IT, biosciences and bioengineering.

The Scientific and Technological Co-operation Agreement will aim to promote links between Ireland and India through reciprocal visits of scientists, researchers, technicians and trainees for study tours, joint research on projects of mutual interest, bilateral symposia and seminars and other forms of scientific and technological co-operation.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheåal Martin said that research is a global and expensive activity and no state in the world can be expert in all fields, especially emerging ones.

He said: “It makes sense to avail of the opportunity for networking and pooling of knowledge through international collaboration as is provided for in this Agreement. I am confident that this agreement will result in positive mutual gains by promoting the circulation of knowledge.

“I believe that building research links with leading scientists in another cultural environment, such as that of India, will be of benefit to Irish-based researchers who must increasingly look beyond their own national boundaries if they want to find high-quality expertise in complementary disciplines,” the Minister added.

In a separate deal, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) concluded a co-operation agreement with the Indian National Science Academy.

The agency-to-agency agreement will allow both parties to promote bilateral cooperation in world class research in the fields of biosciences, bioengineering and IT.

Also in India representing Ireland’s indigenous software industry was the Irish Software Association (ISA) along with 20 Irish software companies seeking to foster closer links with the Indian software industry. The ISA has signed a memorandum of understanding with its Indian counterpart NASSCOM to foster links and identify business opportunities.

Among the advantages to be accrued through such alliances would be access to advanced testing labs, which though plentiful in India are pretty thin on the ground in Ireland.

The ISA was also seeking to foster new collaborations with companies that can provide a quicker route to market for Irish product companies that need to orient their offerings towards a service-oriented architecture (SOA) method. This method has become part of the way many of the largest Irish and international customers for software now approach their purchases.

The ISA’s chairwoman, Bernadette Cullinan, also CEO of SteelTrace, said it is committed to fostering closer links with the Indian software industry. “India is a very large and daunting market to small Irish companies, but the strong entrepreneurial culture of the indigenous Irish software sector means we have an appetite for the massive opportunities that are out there.

“What is clearly evident from this mission, is that companies must approach the Indian market with a partner strategy that is sustainable for both the short and medium term,” Cullinan said.

By John Kennedy