Science and technology spending by Govt to increase 3pc in 2009

14 Oct 2008

The Irish State’s investment in science, technology and innovation will be €335m in 2009, up 3pc on 2008 and nine times the expenditure on the field in 2000.

The virgin Budget of new Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan TD, also saw an increase in the R&D tax credit from 20pc to 25pc

“This measure will enhance our competitiveness as a location for new internationally mobile research-related investment, and also encourage existing overseas and indigenous firms to add research functions to their operations in Ireland or to increase their level of research activity,” said the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Jimmy Devins TD.

Amidst a budget where income tax for workers under €100,000 will increase by 1pc and those over €100,000 will increase by 2pc, as well as increases in tax on petrol, some €265m was allocated by Minister Lenihan for infrastructural investment in Ireland’s higher education institutes, as well as capital funding for strategic research.

“The investments will support enterprise research and innovation and continue to build Ireland’s third-level research base, thus providing a basis for growth in employment and incomes in the years ahead.

“The funding will be used by the development agencies, Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and supplemented with IDA funding to increase in-company R&D, to promote the commercialisation of research and to strengthen the collaboration between industry and the education sector, bringing the outputs of Ireland’s growing research base to the marketplace and helping SMEs to innovate and to stay competitive,” Minister Devins added.

Devins said Science Foundation Ireland will continue on its current investment path, particularly growing the reputation of Ireland’s research base, the quality of our graduates, increasing PhD output and assisting IDA Ireland to win competitive research investments for Ireland.

The rapidly growing reputation of Ireland’s research base, the availability of world-class researchers and high-quality graduates, the increasing PhD output and the research-friendly fiscal environment is greatly assisting IDA Ireland in winning highly competitive research investments for Ireland. The enhancement to the R&D tax credit provided in this Budget will further enhance our attractiveness as a premier R&D location.

Devins said the IDA supported 45 R&D projects and the figures for 2008 and 2009 are expected to be close to 60.

“Global leaders now choose Ireland as a location for cutting-edge R&D activities, again a testament to the Government’s foresight and clear evidence of the long-term dividend to Ireland of this investment.

“There is clear and encouraging evidence that the investment being made is helping Ireland to compete in highly competitive global markets, and to grow quality employment and productivity in innovative firms,” Devins said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years