€2.8m digital plan to provide economic boost to Ireland’s south-east

5 Aug 2014

Waterford Institute of Technology is to lead a €2.8m digital research project to boost regional economic development in Ireland’s south-east through job creation, start-ups and commercialisation of research.

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), together with 14 partners, has been awarded €2.8m to lead the project known as eDIGIREGION which aims to develop smart specialisation Regional Innovation Systems (RIS).

eDIGIREGION, which is funded under the European Framework (FP7), consists of four high-potential research-driven clusters in diverse European regions including the south-east of Ireland; central Hungary; Castilla-La Mancha in Spain; and Bucharest-Ilfov in Romania.

The project will bring together regional stakeholders such as local/regional government, universities/institutes of technology, research centres, government enterprise support agencies, financial institutions, venture capital agents and industry into a coherent, collaborative and cooperative process of engagement.

“eDIGIREGION, through a series of cross-border transnational collaborations and internationalisation activities in the technology domains of the EU Digital Agenda, will support open innovation, boost regional competitiveness, and unlock new national and international business opportunities for SMEs,” explained Prof Bill O’Gorman, project director.

“A particularly unique aspect of the eDIGIREGION project is its intention to push ‘live’ research through the pipelines created by the Joint Action Plans in the four partner regions by facilitating regional actors (researchers, SMEs, government agencies and funding agencies) to bring technology through the innovation process, from research to innovation to commercialisation.”

A regional edge in smart technologies

Back row (l to r): Tom Barry, Carlow county manager; Michael Walsh, Waterford county manager; David Dowling, IT Carlow; Brian Foley, TSSG; Michael Moroney, SERA; Enda McDonnell, Enterprise Ireland; John Farrell, IBEC; Prof Willie Donnelly, TSSG; Helen Norris, Kernel Capital; Tom Enright, Wexford county manager; Prof William O’Gorman, WIT.  Front row (l to r): Kathleen Prendergast, Tipperary County Council; Dave Feenan, Irish Software Innovation Network; Sheevaun Thompson, SERA; Reg McCabe, IBEC; Stephen Blair, Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly;  Joe Crockett, Kilkenny county manager; and Dr Tom O’Toole, WIT, at the launch of the eDIGIREGION project in ArcLabs Research & Innovation Centre, WIT

Partners involved in eDIGIREGION – including Kernel Capital, IBEC, South East Regional Authority (SERA) and WIT – will work with regional stakeholders in the south-east to plan, design and implement an ecosystem of research, innovation, creativity and commercialisation to develop a Joint Action Plan.

This will result in the implementation of the region’s smart specialisation Regional Innovation System (RIS).

As a result the south-east will be able to enhance its sustainable competitiveness by exploiting the region’s strengths and edge in smart technologies.

 “The region-specific Joint Action Plan, and an inter-regional Joint Action Plan with a consortium of partners across the EU, will enhance the south-east’s economic development, the level of new enterprise start-ups, the rate of job creation, the commercialisation of research, and the long term sustainability of the region,” O’Gorman said.

Digital vision image at top via Shutterstock

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