#IIF13 Panel 1 – Making Ireland an innovation test-bed (videos)

14 Oct 2013

From left: Ann O'Dea, CEO, Siliconrepublic.com; Bror Salmelin, Innovation Systems, European Commission, DG CONNECT; Prof Chris Bean, director, UCD Earth Institute, Prof Mark Ferguson, director-general, SFI; Prof Brian MacCraith, president, DCU

Highlights from Friday’s Innovation Ireland Forum in Dublin, where the first keynote of the day Bror Salmelin of DG CONNECT joined leaders from UCD Earth Institute, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and DCU to discuss Horizon 2020, Open Innovation, creating a sustainable future, and Ireland’s future potential as an international test-bed.

Window to the world

Ann O’Dea kicked off proceedings on this panel by throwing out the question to Salmelin on what Ireland needs to do in order to innovate faster.

Salmelin said that the country needs to create a “movement” so that people are all in the picture of what the country is trying to achieve.

Bean, meanwhile spoke at length about how Ireland is in a unique position to create business opportunities out of our environment. He said that the climate front – think changing weather patterns, climate change, natural resources Ireland has on its doorstep such as wind, wave and tidal – in order spawn new impunities for new industries. And also to attract talent to Ireland.

“I think that is an opportunity for potential innovation.”

How innovation happens – bringing it full circle

Moving on to MacCraith. He wanted to get the message across that universities are creative hotbeds and can be “centres of knowledge-creation and problem-solving that industry can feed into – and vice-versa.

“The university is a very effective way of coming up with solutions,” MacCraith said.

Finally, Ferguson spoke about how Ireland is performing, especially in terms of translation scientific research into commercial products and services.

He spoke about the €300m combined Government-industry investment that SFI has leveraged to pump into seven centres around Ireland. Ferguson also touched on creating a microcosm from Ireland in order to spark disruption.

‘Is it easy? – No; Are we on a journey? – Yes; Are we in a good place? – Yes, we are’

Harvesting large amounts of data – creating new ideas

Then, in the second video, published below, Ferguson covered what he deemed as being some of Ireland’s unique strengths, to capitalise on. Think big data, technology transfer and creating “world-class institutes” to lure in new industries.

Salmelin wanted to talk about people power. He said that Ireland should not forget its biggest asset when innovating: its people, from the urban dweller to the rural liver, or the Aran Islander.

“If people are happy – it affects the mood of a country,” he said.

“Make a region, city or country attractive worldwide to get inward intellectual investment.”

And UCD Earth Institute’s Bean wrapped up this panel discussion by saying that Ireland cannot become a global test-bed for innovation by itself.

He said that everyone – society, academics, business, industry – needs to understand how team diversity will give the country a better chance of reaching its targets. And Ireland needs to tap into global innovation.

The key words of the discussion appeared to be people, harvesting ideas, driving the pace of innovation fast, nurturing new sci-tech talent.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic