New directory to help Irish businesses tap into R&D opportunities

25 May 2021

KTI director Alison Campbell. Image: Maxwell Photography

The KTI directory is a ‘one-stop shop’ to help companies find the research opportunity or partner they are looking for.

Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI), the national body that aims to boost business through innovation, has launched a new directory to help Irish companies tap into the country’s R&D resources.

The updated Directory of Research, Development and Innovation Supports for Enterprise builds on the previous edition. It aims to help businesses that are seeking to engage with Irish research and provide details on R&D supports that are available from State sources.

This includes the Government’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, Science Foundation Ireland’s Strategic Partnership Programme and Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Vouchers.

As well as a breakdown of the R&D funding supports available to businesses, the directory also includes profiles of higher education institutes and research centres, which companies can connect with to boost R&D.

‘Our third-level system can provide access for companies to the brightest minds and cutting-edge infrastructure’

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, described the directory as a “one-stop shop” to help companies find the research opportunity or partner they are looking for.

“There are many challenges ahead as we recover from Covid, decarbonise our economy and adapt to the digital transformation,” he added. “There will also be opportunities and those who can adapt and innovate will be the winners.”

According to figures from KTI, there has been a steady increase the number of companies involved in research collaboration in Ireland in recent years.

It said that there were more than 2,100 collaborative research projects ongoing between businesses in Ireland and third-level or State research bodies at the end of 2019 – a 76pc increase since the figures were first available in 2015.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, said there is a “strong willingness” in the third-level sector to engage with companies and commercialise ideas.

“Our third-level system can provide access for companies to the brightest minds and cutting-edge infrastructure, and it is very welcome to see over 50 of these institutes and research centres profiled in the KTI Directory,” he added.

“I have no doubt we will continue to see ambitious spin-outs grow out of our universities, institutes of technology and technological universities, as well as existing businesses around Ireland solving real-world problems through collaboration with the third level.”

KTI is funded by Enterprise Ireland with co-financing from the Irish Universities Association. It aims to offer information and advice across the areas of research collaboration, licensing and spin-out opportunities.

Alison Campbell, director of KTI, said the updated directory can help grow businesses around the country.

“There is a wealth of potential in our higher education institutes and research centres, and increased collaboration across enterprise and academia can deliver results today and act as a magnet for future investment,” she added.

Meanwhile, investment firm Atlantic Bridge recently launched a new fund to support the scaling of research spin-outs from Irish universities. It is backed by Enterprise Ireland and university partners.

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic