Ireland’s knowledge pipeline is the way out of economic crisis

11 Feb 2010

The director of Trinity College’s nanotechnology R&D operation CRANN proves how smart people with smart ideas will be vital to keeping FDI and creating new industries out of Ireland.

Last week, ex-Intel CEO Craig Barrett outlined to more than 600 of Ireland’s academic and political elite at a Royal Irish Academy meeting in Dublin’s Mansion House that the only way Ireland could find its way out of the current economic crisis is down to three things: smart people doing smart things in a smart environment.

He outlined a blistering speech including a10-point plan that highlighted Ireland’s deficiencies – inadequate broadband infrastructure, failure to invest in a 21st-century education system during the boom and an urgent need to be an economy where entrepreneurs, even failed ones, can flourish. Most importantly, he said the days of FDI as we knew them are over and we need to generate our own indigenous industries.

Barrett also urged Irish universities to play a more fundamental economic role – become wealth generators for the economy and underpin future success – in the same way that Stanford and Berkeley do in California or how MIT does in Boston.

The next day out at Intel, a discussion ensued around Ireland’s potential in a number of future industry areas, particularly nanotechnology.

The director of the Trinity College-based Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), John Boland, revealed that Ireland is currently sixth in the world in terms of nanoscience and currently 10pc of the country’s exports are nanotech-based.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Prof John Boland, director of CRANN and lecturer in the School of Chemistry, TCD

Read more about Ireland’s knowledge pipeline is the way out of economic crisis at Digital 21.

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