Increased investment in research and development (R&D) should be given a high priority status by the Irish Government in negotiations on the future EU budget, the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation warned today.
Mary Cryan, chairman of the council, stated: “The Government has provided strong leadership in developing Ireland as an internationally competitive knowledge-based economy in according a high priority to investment in R&D under the National Development Plan, 2000-2006.
“The Irish research landscape has been transformed over the last five years. The EU Framework Programmes for research strongly complement national initiatives and increased community funding is essential to increasing the EU’s competitiveness,” she said.
The council, which acts as the primary interface between stakeholders and policymakers in the science, technology and innovation (STI) policy arena, is of the unanimous view that securing a significant increase in funding for R&D at EU level is in the long term development interests of Ireland and the European community.
Irish researchers and enterprises benefit greatly from participation in EU research programmes, in terms of access to funding, access to leading-edge technology networks and expertise, mobility and training of researchers and access to large research infrastructures in Europe. The Commission’s proposals for the Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013) envisage a doubling of the community funding for R&D.
“Ireland’s future economic success is intrinsically linked to the success of the Lisbon Strategy to develop Europe as a more competitive and attractive place for businesses and knowledge workers,” Cryan warned.
“The Lisbon Strategy, with the objective of making Europe the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world, explicitly recognises the importance of investment in R&D to increasing productivity, exploiting growth opportunities in emerging markets and creating knowledge-driven competitive advantage.
“Furthermore, science and technology imparts on all EU policy areas and contributes in a particular way to balanced regional development across the EU. It is imperative that investment in R&D is accorded a high priority in the future community budget in order to achieve the targets for growth, jobs and competitiveness in the Lisbon Strategy”, Cryan warned.
By John Kennedy