Innovation can spark 120,000 jobs, report says


10 Mar 2010

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If Ireland revamps itself into a centre of innovation, the result can be some 120,000 new jobs, says a report from the Government’s Innovation Taskforce to be published tomorrow.

The final draft report, seen by the Irish Times, says “we need a sea change in attitudes – in public and private sectors – towards innovation and entrepreneurship, to recognise that they involve risk, and occasionally result in failure”.

Highlights of the Government’s Innovation Taskforce report

The report:

– Supports the introduction of bonus CAO points for maths in the Leaving Cert, to increase student interest.

– Proposes major investment in upgrading broadband capability (but makes no proposal on new capital funding in this area).

– Supports having changes made to bankruptcy laws.

– Commits the Government to investing at least 3pc of gross domestic product in research and development until 2020.

– Envisages senior civil servants taking placements in major companies in order to gain practical experience of business.

– Backs further collaboration between third-level colleges, such as the TCD-UCD Innovation Alliance and the NUI Galway-University of Limerick Strategic Alliance.

– Indicates support for student tuition charges saying, “we must develop sufficient revenue streams to sustain excellence in our third level colleges.”

– Seeks the establishment of a new national intellectual property (IP) protocol. Firms and entrepreneurs need to find and access IP created in universities to turn it into products and services that fulfil customer demand.

– Seeks new actions to develop and market Ireland as an International Innovation Services Centre offering global IP management, licensing and trading services.

– Calls for transformation in the scale and nature of the Irish venture capital environment by attracting top-tier venture financing to Ireland so as to successfully scale innovative companies.

– Ireland branding itself as an innovation hub through attracting the European headquarters of private US companies via a European accelerator programme.

– Recommends that the current Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (SSTI) 2006-13 should continue until 2020.

Members of the Government’s Innovation Taskforce, having been described as one of the most important committees assembled by the Government, include Lionel Alexander, a vice-president with Hewlett Packard; Dr John Hegarty, provost of Trinity College Dublin; and Dr Chris Horn, co-founder of Iona Technologies.