Future industries: Ireland must pave way for ‘Next Big Thing’

24 Jun 2010

Ireland’s investment in growing its PhD base needs to be sustained and expanded, not curtailed.

From having virtually no PhD graduates a decade ago Ireland has amassed close to 2,000 PhDs who are shaping its industrial future. They are already intrinsic to Ireland winning key investments such as IBM’s 200-job Smart Cities investment in Dublin and Citi’s €100m R&D investment in Galway.

These PhD graduates are also intrinsic to the future growth of Irish SMEs, which, faced with cheaper manufacturing models elsewhere, are looking to R&D as a way of spearheading their survival and growth.

Ireland’s PhD graduates – with an average age of 26 – are also younger than most of their contemporaries, such as R&D stalwarts like Finland where the average graduate is aged 36.

The CRANN nanotechnology research body at TCD works with the world’s biggest technology companies, including HP and Intel as well as fast-growing Irish firms Eblana Photonics, SolarPrint and Sigmoid Pharma. CRANN director Dr Diarmuid O’Brien warns: “Keeping up the number of PhDs in Ireland is a very serious matter.”

Read more of ‘Future industries: Ireland must pave way for ‘Next Big Thing” at Digital 21.

www.digital21.ieDigital 21 is a campaign to highlight the imperative of creating an action programme to secure the digital infrastructure and services upon which the success of our economy depends.

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