Irish Govt makes €55m investment in ideas economy

12 May 2011

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton TD has revealed a €55m investment in commercialising R&D and turning ideas into businesses that create jobs. This includes a €5m investment in a cloud computing centre and a €6m research centre focused on the smart electricity grid.

The announcements were made this morning as part of speech to the Irish Internet Association’s annual conference “Open for Business”.

The Minister’s announcements include:

·         A €5million applied research centre in cloud computing

·         A €6million research centre in energy/smart grid

·         €44million in funding for Principal Investigator research teams in life sciences, ICT and energy

·         Funding and supports for 25% more high-growth and high-potential start-up companies

“Today’s announcement represents a series of initiatives aimed at addressing the commercialisation gap, to ensure that good ideas can become great businesses which create jobs,” Minister Bruton said.

“If we are to develop the companies of the future in Ireland, we must not only fund high-tech research in our universities and support high potential start-up companies, but also crucially address the gap in between the two – commercialisation.

“The Programme for Government commits to addressing that gap in order to develop ideas into workable businesses so as to create the jobs of the future and get the economy growing again. Applied research centres and principal investigator teams are highly advanced models which partner researchers with both universities and industry partners, to ensure that commercialisation can happen.

“In particular, cloud computing is an area which both Fine Gael before the election and the Programme for Government identified as a key priority.”

According to a recent report by Microsoft, Ireland’s cloud computing industry could be worth €9.5billion per annum and employ 8,600 people by 2014. The new applied research centre announced today, which will connect both multinationals and Irish enterprises with researchers, can see Ireland take the lead in this crucial high growth area.

Smart grid

The Government will provide €6m to immediately commence a new energy research centre, funded through Science Foundation Ireland under its Strategic Research Clusters programme. This new Energy SRC, which is being hosted at UCD, will support the employment of 40 high-quality research personnel. This is an area where Ireland is already strong and has the potential to become a world leader.

Principal investigator research teams

44 Science Foundation Ireland funded Principal Investigator (PI) Awards will support close to 300 top-class researcher positions in a broad range of areas.

The areas of research covered by these awards will include: life sciences, ICT and energy.

The 44 research projects have attracted 23 industry partners including Inercept Pharma Ltd., Pevion Biotech Ltd, Sigmoid Pharma (Ireland), as well as informal collaborators such as Nestle, Kerry Group, and Alimentary Health. On the ICT side, industry partners include Intel Labs Europe, IBM, Alcatel-Lucent/BLI, Aquamarine Power (Edinburgh), Infineon, Disney Research, ESBI, France Telecom, Howard Science (UK), and a host of others.

Cloud Computing

Bruton said Ireland is poised to capture a significant piece of the world cloud computing market. A new applied research centre in Cloud Computing will be established as part of the Government’s efforts to support the development of cloud computing in Ireland.

Increased resources for the High Potential Start Up programme

The Government will increase resources available to support HPSUs, so that by 2014, 100 will be created each year compared to 80 in 2010.

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