Ireland’s €680m localisation sector to spur more jobs

16 Nov 2011

Dr Páraic Sheridan, associate director, CNGL, presents the FP7 CNGL-affiliated PLuTO project to attendees at the EPO Patent Information Conference 2011 in Kilkenny, Ireland on 18 October 2011. Image courtesy of CNGL

Ireland’s localisation sector already employs 15,000 people in an industry that’s worth about €680m to the economy annually. Take the SFI-funded CNGL that has been pioneering innovative technologies, such as software used at the 2010 FIFA World Cup to translate tweets into global languages.

The Centre for Next Generation Localisation (CNGL) is continuing to develop groundbreaking technologies in voice recognition and language translation for use in software and social media globally.

As part of the Innovation Dublin Festival, Ireland’s Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Richard Bruton, TD, this morning spoke at an innovation showcase about the work of the CNCL at the Croke Park Convention Centre, Dublin.

The CNGL showcase demonstrated the scientific and economic impact of work at the €40m academia-industry consortium, while also presenting a selection of technologies that are ripe for commercial exploitation.

Bruton was keen to see first hand the economic benefits being generated by the Government’s investment in third-level research in Ireland.

Peaceful student protests in Dublin today

His visit this morning coincides with student protests in Dublin today, as up to 20,000 third-level students are expected to take to Dublin’s streets to state their peaceful appeal against any attempt by the Government to increase student fees or to cut maintenance grants in the upcoming Budget in December 2011.

Rumours have been circulating that, from next year, existing grants and maintenance support for post-graduates could be scrapped, saving Ireland’s Government circa €50m a year.

‘We must commercialise more ideas, create more Irish businesses, and attract more FDI’

But, back to Ireland’s localisation sector, whereby digital products and services are adapted to the needs of customers in countries globally.

Addressing the industry and research representative attending the SFI showcase this morning, Bruton spoke about how Ireland has built up an impressive record in scientific research.

“If we are to get out of our present difficulties, we must now use this base to commercialise more ideas, create more Irish businesses, and attract and embed more multinational investment. Turning good ideas into good jobs: that is what SFI’s research centres and funded teams are about, and that is what I am determined to achieve,” he said.

“I am delighted to see that five start-up companies have been created from this research, as well as an impressive number of invention disclosures, licensing agreements and patent applications. We must now build on that record and be highly ambitious about the number of jobs our research can create”.

CNCL comprises 150-plus researchers from Irish universities

The CNGL is one of 28 research centres funded by SFI, and brings 150 researchers together with 10 partner companies in order to commercialise research, foster the development of new and existing Irish companies, and attract new multinational investment.

CNGL comprises more than 150 researchers at Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and University of Limerick, along with 10 industry partner companies.

CNGL has engaged with more than 100 companies across Ireland over the last year under the Enterprise Ireland Commercial Development Manager programme. CNGL partner Symantec and new start-up Digital Linguistics today shared their experiences of engaging in university research, shaping the commercial opportunity, and then building products and services to capitalise on the innovation.

Localisation tackles industry challenges

“Our showcases have become particularly fertile grounds for companies looking to solve specific problems or find new product offerings. Today, attendees had the opportunity to not only view fundamental scientific advances that will be impacting their businesses in the not-too-distant future, but also a chance to discuss industry challenges and opportunities with some of the leading academic minds in these fields,” said CNGL’s commercial development manager Steve Gotz today.

Through strong industry engagement, CNGL is helping to ensure that Ireland remains at the forefront of the multi-billion euro content management and localisation sectors, said Gotz, alluding to export-led economy such as Ireland, as localisation enables companies to introduce products to otherwise inaccessible markets.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic