Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, has officially launched in Cork the Governance Risk and Compliance Technology Centre (GRCTC), which conducts market-focused applied research for the financial-services sector.
The GRCTC is hosted at University College Cork (UCC) and is the latest in a network of 15 technology centres funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through both Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.
The establishment of these centres is Ireland’s largest initiative to support market-focused applied research, development and innovation, in areas pinpointed for industrial growth and job creation.
“The Government’s plan is to secure economic recovery by focusing support on sectors that can create jobs. This technology centre goes right to the heart of the very important financial-services sector and will make Ireland more attractive for jobs and investment,” Kenny said.
Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English, TD, explained that the GRCTC is intended to make Ireland a world leader in providing innovative solutions for financial services.
“It is engaged in groundbreaking market-focussed research, the outputs of which companies will then use to develop new and improved products, processes, tools, applications and services,” he said.
“This valuable work will both help to secure and enhance the future of financial services in Ireland and also lead directly to high-level employment opportunities and exports.”
Collaborative industry-led research
The GRCTC has nine industry partners – AIB, Propylon, Nathean Technologies, TerraNua, Citibank, Wolters Kluwer, Linklaters, Bank of Ireland and BAE Detica – for whom the software, databases and process models developed at the centre will be vital.
“The move towards ‘smart regulation’ in financial services demands greater global harmonisation and a consistent approach to the production and interpretation of regulations. However, in this rapidly changing environment, governance, risk and compliance (GRC) departments in regulated financial-services companies are struggling to keep up using increasingly outmoded manual and semi-automated approaches,” said GRCTC director Peter Cowap.
For companies operating alone, research and development into products and services at very early stages can be seen as high risk, but the collaborative approach offered by the Government-funded technology centres is a more viable proposition.
The GRCTC’s partners will define the areas of research most relevant to their needs over a three to five-year period. Researchers will then propose projects that consider these needs, and their work can potentially lead to new licensable intellectual property.
The GRCTC expects to grow its number of industry partners significantly over the next three to six months, adding to the more than 300 companies already benefitting from the Technology Centres programme.
Financial services image by Tomislav Pinter via Shutterstock