Physics-based businesses contribute more than €7bn annually to the Irish economy and directly employ more than 86,000 people. That’s according to a new report from the Institute of Physics (IOP) that has just been published.
The Importance of Physics to Irish Economy report, which the IOP commissioned Deloitte to carry out, shows that physics, and physics-trained people, are employed in businesses in Ireland ranging from medical technologies to ICT, space industry, web services and some areas of high finance.
According to the IOP, the aim of the report was to show the impact of these sectors, which depend on the supply of new physics research and physics-trained people.
The report said physics-based businesses directly contributed €7bn to the Irish economy in 2010, while 86,000 people – or 4.5pc of the Irish workforce – are directly employed in physics-based jobs.
In 2009, it said physics-based sectors exported more than €23bn worth of goods and services.
Launching the report yesterday, the Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock, TD, welcomed its analysis of the importance of physics to the Irish economy.
"It reinforces the rationale behind the emphasis being placed on ensuring the flow of science, including physics, graduates from our third-level institutions," he said.
Kevin McGuigan, chair of the IOP in Ireland, said the source of the strength of physics-based industries is the products of physics research.
"To be able to develop this research, and create wealth, there must be a ready supply of physics-trained workers," he said.
However, McGuigan said it was "worrying" that 23pc of post-primary schools did not offer physics at Leaving Cert level.