Academic researchers should be required to partner with industry at all stages of their work so that ‘smart’ jobs can be created, asserted Batt O’Keeffe TD.
Following a meeting with Ireland’s EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe TD has spoken out about his plans for the ‘smart’ economy and feels that academic researchers should not be encouraged to partner with industry but rather ‘required’ to do so in order to bring products to market faster.
“Research teams whose work has commercial potential must be required to partner with industry at all stages of their work so that there is no time lost in getting products to market and generating revenues and jobs.
"In other works, if there is a gap between research and retail, we must ensure that it is closed," he added.
Irish third-level R&D attracts €1m per week in EU funding
Currently, researchers working in Irish universities attract the equivalent of €1m in funding per week from the EU €5bn Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and this is set to rise to €2m by 2013, said O’Keeffe.
He asserted that it is vital that "firms are partners in this effort and can commercialise the results."
When talking with Geoghegan-Quinn, O’Keeffe suggested that SMEs were "kept firmly in mind" as she draws up the new research and innovation plan that is due to be launched sometime in August.
"We are already doing that … through the Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology – but we can do more with the support of the broad EU innovation policy framework, particularly as we set about implementing the recommendations of the Innovation Taskforce.
"European research and innovation will be focused on global challenges, such as climate change, energy and food security, and healthcare," O’Keeffe added.
By Marie Boran