Govt appoints dream team to draw up plan for ‘smart jobs’

27 Sep 2010

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O’Keeffe TD has appointed a group of industrialists, academics and civil servants, led by Intel’s Jim O’Hara, to draw up a report to spearhead a push for target areas that will create ‘smart jobs’ for the country.

The high-level group led by one of Ireland’s top industrialists has begun work on a five-year prioritisation plan for Government investment in research and ‘smart’ jobs, according to O’Keeffe.

The research prioritisation steering group, which will be headed by Intel Ireland’s general manager, Jim O’Hara, will identify up to 20 target areas in which the Government should focus its allocation of public funding for research and development over five years.

O’Keeffe, who appointed the steering group, has asked that work be completed within 12 months with an action plan for each priority area setting out specific goals over five years.

O’Keeffe wants the group to focus on areas that will yield the best return for taxpayers’ investment in research and, ultimately, create high-quality jobs.

“We want to identify research areas that can deliver the best economic dividend for our people through enterprise development and job creation.

“This year, the Government is investing €598m on academic and commercially focused research and development spread across all Government departments and agencies.

“The steering group has now embarked on a major national exercise of structured stakeholder engagement which will set out where best to focus our work and tailor our investment.

Overlook vested interests

“I have asked the steering group to overlook vested interests and place the Irish economy and society at the heart of the strategic consideration process.

“The group will draw on the experience of other countries in drawing up similar plans.”

The steering group draws on national and international expertise in the private and public sectors, as well as senior Government officials.

O’Keeffe asked international experts who have completed similar exercises in other countries to assist the steering group.

The Government’s economic advisory agency, Forfás, will undertake the project under the guidance of the steering group.

The project will take a year to complete and identify between 10 and 20 priority areas following extensive consultation.

Membership of Research Prioritisation Project Steering Group

  • Chairman: Jim O’Hara, general manager, Intel Ireland, vice-president, TMG Intel Corporation and member of Enterprise Ireland board
  • Prof Nicholas Canny, president, Royal Irish Academy
  • Prof Frank Convery, UCD
  • Marion Coy, president, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, member of the advisory council on science, technology and innovation (ACSTI)
  • Prof Patrick Cunningham, chief scientific adviser to the Government
  • Seán Dorgan, gormer CEO of IDA Ireland and secretary general of departments of industry and commerce and tourism and trade
  • Dr Alistair Glass, former deputy minister of research and innovation, Ontario, Canada
  • Brian J Hayes, managing director, Global Transaction Services, Citibank Europe
  • Prof Brian MacCraith, president, DCU, member of the ACSTI
  • Kevin McCarthy, assistant secretary, Department of Education and Skills, deputy chair of the Inter-departmental Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation
  • Dr Tom McCarthy, chairman of ACSTI, CEO Irish Management Institute
  • Martin Naughton, chairman of Glen Dimplex Group
  • Ian Quinn, chairman of Creganna-Tactx Medical
  • Maurice Roche, Delta Partners
  • Prof Frances Ruane, director of ESRI
  • Martin Shanagher, assistant secretary, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, chairman of Inter-departmental Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation
  • Martin Shanahan, CEO of Forfás

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