Government spends €600,000 on new R&D drive

25 Sep 2008

Over a thousand companies spanning the software, construction and R&D sectors are set to be the focus of a new €600,000 Irish Government strategy aimed at boosting their R&D efforts.

Speaking at the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, Dr Jimmy Devins TD, Minister for Science Technology and Innovation announced the establishment of three new Enterprise Innovation Networks (EINs) that will introduce over 1,000 companies to the benefits of R&D in their operations.

Each of the successful networks will receive €200,000 per annum in financial support for three years.

“In the highly competitive and rapidly changing global markets now evolving, success goes to those who read new trends first,” Minister Devins said.

“Creative ideas, new and better ways of working, innovative products and services and improved ways of marketing and delivering goods to the world will be the drivers of future success.”

He said the EINs build on research and innovation supports for companies such as the €500m R&D grant scheme and Enterprise Ireland’s €60m Growth Fund. Groups representing companies are already aware of the challenges involved in engaging in R&D, which is what makes these groups such powerful ambassadors for research and innovation.

The Construction IT Alliance (CITA), for example, will enable its member companies to conduct more business online and use e-tendering to help them win international contracts.

Dr Alan Hore, director of the CITA EIN said CITA will focus on promoting R&D to more than 300 SMEs in the Irish construction sector, with the specific aim of improving their e-business capability.

“The construction industry needs to win business overseas, now more than ever, which means competing with companies that are more technologically advanced,” Dr Hore explained.

“It is critical for the competitiveness of Irish construction companies that they adapt to using e-business technologies. Enterprise Ireland’s funding will help us bring small Irish construction companies into the world of online tendering and e-business.”

Looking forward to getting the Irish Software Association’s EIN up and running, its director Shane Dempsey said: “The EIN will provide a forum for companies and academic researchers to interact in real ways, leading to beneficial collaborations in business and research.

“We believe that the dynamic between Ireland’s excellent research base and its innovative software technology entrepreneurs will be very powerful,” Dempsey said.

By John Kennedy

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