Ireland creates ‘Innovation Taskforce’ to make smart economy a reality

29 Jun 2009

The Taoiseach Brian Cowen TD has appointed an Innovation Taskforce to advise the Irish Government on its strategy to position Ireland as ‘an international innovation hub’ and make the smart economy plan a reality.

“While weathering the worst global recession of our lifetime, it is imperative that we position Ireland so that we can take advantage of the global upturn when it comes,” the Taoiseach said.

“In December, I launched ‘Building Ireland’s Smart Economy’, the Government’s Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal. We need to think smart, work smart, and be smart in order to build our future.

“The Ireland of the future will be a smart, high-value, export-led economy. It will have some of the world’s leading research-intensive multinationals, a number of which will be Irish-owned. It will have thousands of innovative small and medium enterprises.

“These companies will be creating the products and services of tomorrow and providing high-quality employment for our people. The country will have smart, efficient and citizen-oriented public services. It will be energy independent and have high-quality living environments with smart transport solutions. That is the future that I want us to achieve.

“The lesson from severe global recessions in the past is that as well as weathering the economic storm, countries need to restructure their economies to target the next wave of economic growth. ‘Building Ireland’s Smart Economy’ identified a range of measures to transform Ireland into the Innovation Island.”

Tánaiste Mary Coughlan TD pointed to Ireland’s success in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). “Over 40pc of that investment is now in high-value R&D.

“We must now build on the progress made in the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, so as to ensure that we move up the value chain to become a smart economy with a high-value, research-intensive, multinational community and a thriving set of innovative Irish companies,” she said.

The taskforce will be chaired by the secretary general of the Department of the Taoiseach.

It consists of:

  • Lionel Alexander, Vice-President and General Manager of Hewlett Packard (Manufacturing) Ltd and Chair of Enterprise Feedback Group
  • Professor Don Barry, President, University of Limerick; Dr. Hugh, Brady President, University College Dublin
  • Damien Callaghan, Investment Director, Intel Capital
  • Michael Carmody, President, Institute of Technology Tralee
  • Dr Steven Collins, Co-Founder & CTO Kore Virtual Machines
  • Ned Costello, CEO, Irish Universities Association
  • Joe Harford, Chair of High Level Action Group on Green Enterprise
  • Dr John Hegarty, Provost, Trinity College Dublin
  • Dr Chris Horn, Co-founder & former CEO, Iona Technologies
  • Dr Brian Kelly, Founder & CEO, Celtic Catalysts
  • Dr Burton Lee, Director, European Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, Stanford University, School of Engineering, Managing Partner Innovarium Ventures
  • John Lynch, CEO, Merrion Pharmaceuticals
  • Tara MacMahon, IP Lawyer
  • Dan MacSweeney, CEO, Carbery
  • Bryan Mohally, Vice-President Supply Chain Operations Europe, Johnson and Johnson
  • Mark O’Donovan, Director, Raglan Capital
  • Barry O’Sullivan, Senior Vice President, Cisco Systems
  • Dr Paul Roben, President, Celtic Consulting
  • Anna Scally, Partner, KPMG

By John Kennedy