Today saw the launch of a €7m fund designed to help academics turn research into jobs by bringing new products and services to market.
By creating new technology-based companies, third-level institutions will contribute to the Government’s job-creation targets and create ‘smart’ sustainable jobs.
The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe TD, urged academic researchers to apply for support under the Commercialisation Fund, which will be administered by Enterprise Ireland.
His call follows the recent announcement by the Taoiseach of Cycle Five of the Programme for Research – the Government’s investment plan for physical infrastructure and research projects in higher-education institutions between 2011 and 2016.
“The Government is investing in human capital and in our capacity to turn ideas into jobs by bringing research to the marketplace as commercial products and services.
“We want to support researchers across all sectors but particularly those working on ideas and inventions that could treat and cure diseases, improve transport and communications networks, and create new digital products and services to replace outdated technologies.
“In doing so, we can create ‘smart’ and sustainable jobs and give Ireland a competitive advantage over other countries in developing our innovation capacity,” O’Keeffe said.
“We should recall that Government investment in higher education research and development has more than trebled over 10 years and it is now above Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average levels.
“Our recently announced spending plans for the coming six years clearly demonstrate that the Government is sustaining this investment in people and, ultimately, high-quality jobs so that we can make Ireland Europe’s innovation hub,” he continued.
Enterprise Ireland welcomes announcement
Feargal Ó Móráin, executive director of Enterprise Ireland, also welcomed the launch of the fund, saying, “Since Enterprise Ireland started funding the commercialisation of research over 10 years ago, 140 spin-out companies have been created employing over 1,000 workers with a combined annual turnover of over €160m.
“From small beginnings, some of these spin-outs have grown into substantial employers such as Iona Technologies while others including Havok, Stokes Bio, and Changing Worlds have attracted significant investment from multinational firms.”
Researchers can apply for the fund until 12pm on Wednesday, 22 September 2010. Final decisions on proposals will be made by Enterprise Ireland’s Industrial Research and Commercialisation Committee following a rigorous assessment process involving external and internal review panels.