Call for long-term funding for research

9 Sep 2004

The Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ICSTI), has called on the Government to sustain its investment in research and innovation to promote enterprise and Ireland as a location for world-class research.

In its Statement of State Expenditure Priorities for 2005 published today, the ICSTI argued that multi-annual budgeting for science and technology is needed to provide long-term stability for the research system.

The statement said that the research community, which has developed three- to five-year research strategies on the basis of the current National Development Plan (2000-2006), should be given the opportunity to make plans after 2006.

“A new and longer-term outlook, based on international best practice for multi-annual budgeting for science and technology should be developed to provide stability to the research system and to strengthen Ireland’s competitiveness as a location for world-class science and engineering,” the ICSTI stated.

The ICSTI recommended a number of expenditure priorities for 2005:

• the implementation of the Irish action plan for increasing research and development (R&D) to 2010, which will provide constancy to public R&D expenditure and performance over the period to 2010
• completion of funding of the Higher Education Authority’s Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions and provision for a successor programme
• continued development of a competitive mix of fiscal incentives and financial supports to promote enterprise R&D, particularly for small to medium-sized enterprises
• sustained funding for Science Foundation Ireland and increased funding for the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology to train larger numbers of researchers
• further investment in the higher education sector to position the sector to meet the challenges of a growing knowledge society.

“Ireland has now recognised that a substantial increase in investment in R&D is an essential foundation to the development of its knowledge-based economy within the European research area. The investments made by Government to date are putting Ireland on the world map as a choice location for knowledge-intensive manufacturing, services and research activities, creating well-paid and high-quality employment. Ireland’s future development requires a significant strengthening of its research capabilities and a sustained commitment to this goal. It is critical that the research community, which has developed remarkably in the past three to five years, be given the opportunity to confidently plan onwards from 2006,” said Dr Edward Walsh, chairman of the ICSTI.

by Brian Skelly