Intel invests €12m in new Leixlip R&D lab


27 Jun 2003

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Intel has invested €12m in establishing its global IT Innovation Centre in Leixlip, in what the IDA has described as the foundation stone for a new era in inward investment. The announcement is part of the IDA’s aim to push Ireland higher up the technology value chain. For Intel’s part, the investment brings to over €5bn the amount the company has invested in Ireland since first establishing operations in Ireland in 1989.

Unveiled this morning, the new facility at Leixlip will have global responsibility to research and develop innovative leading-edge IT solutions and technology. So far the centre has created content distribution and e-learning technology in association with Trinity College and MediaLab Europe.

The centre will become home to a variety of global initiatives within Intel as well as major projects the microprocessor giant embarks upon with other technology leaders, such as Microsoft. In the coming weeks the centre will host delegations from the Saudi Arabian, Egyptian and Lebanese governments, seeking to learn more about how technology can help their societies and economies.

Initially 40 experienced IT R&D engineers will work at the centre. A major influence in the decision to locate the centre in Ireland were the results and competencies already demonstrated by the existing group of software engineers in Leixlip. The IT Innovation Centre will also undertake collaborative research and develop linkages with colleges and organisations, both within Ireland – Trinity College, UCD and MIT MediaLab – and outside the country. Focus areas will include software and systems to facilitate the connection and sharing of resources across a network, solutions for mobile workers and the development of education and e-learning.

Among the solutions already developed is content distribution software that enables a large file that typically takes 40 minutes to download to be downloaded within 40 seconds, which will give companies the ability to reduce their networking costs.

Present at the announcement this morning was Intel’s chief information officer and vice president Doug Busch, whose organisation spans 83,000 workers in more than 45 countries. The new centre is one of his group’s initiatives. In an exclusive interview with siliconrepublic.com, Busch said: “This centre is the only one of its kind in the world. We began working on it over a year ago and it will integrate the best efforts of our research groups around the world. We will also develop solutions here that will benefit Intel internally, such as software that will enable our manufacturing plants to operate more efficiently.”

Also present at the announcement was Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevy, who said “This investment is a significant step in growing the capabilities of the Leixlip campus. It is a further indication of Intel’s substantial ongoiing commitment to Ireland – when Fab 24 is completed, Intel will have made over €5bn in capital investment in the Irish facility.

“The centre has the support of IDA Ireland under its R&D Capability initiative and will have global responsibility to research and develop innovative IT solutions and technology. It will involve a total investment by Intel of over €12m. This strategic investment by a world leader of the scale of Intel, further strengthening Ireland’s position as a key location for high quality R&D.”

Frank Ryan, executive director of IDA Ireland, told siliconrepublic.com: “This is the kind of investment that we have been working for over the past year. We envisage that it will wave a flag in the technology world that Ireland is the right place for this kind of investment. We expect to announce three similar investments in R&D by global technology leaders in the Irish economy in the coming year.”

The news comes within weeks of Intel’s decision to establish an €18.3m R&D project at its Communications Group Europe base in Shannon, to develop its next-generation mobile network processor. The project is aimed at the emerging 3G, wireless access and high speed broadband markets and is positioned to extend Intel’s network processor offering and product leadership.

By John Kennedy