Following the range of measures detailed in this week’s Jobs Initiative, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD today [Thursday] announced five major initiatives aimed at supporting innovation and high growth businesses. The announcements were made as part of speech to the Irish Internet Association’s annual conference, entitled “Open for Business”.
The Minister’s announcements include:
· A €5million applied research centre in cloud computing
· A €6million research centre in energy/smart grid
· €44million in funding for Principal Investigator research teams in life sciences, ICT and energy
· Funding and supports for 25% more high-growth and high-potential start-up companies
“Today’s announcement represents a series of initiatives aimed at addressing the commercialisation gap, to ensure that good ideas can become great businesses which create jobs.
“In my statement on Tuesday’s Jobs Initiative I said, as I have been arguing for some time now, that if we are going to grow the economy and create jobs we have to focus on three things:
· reducing costs to business,
· improving access to finance, and
· encouraging research, developing and innovation.
“I was pleased that the Minister for Finance announced, as well as substantial measures on costs and access to finance, a significant change to the R&D tax credit regime to make it more attractive for multinationals to employ researchers and locate R&D facilities here. Today I am delighted to announce a series of measures that my Department will be implementing in the short term to significantly improve the supports to the innovative Irish companies that will create the jobs of the future.
“If we are to develop the companies of the future in Ireland, we must not only fund high-tech research in our universities and support high potential start-up companies, but also crucially address the gap in between the two – commercialisation. The Programme for Government commits to addressing that gap in order to develop ideas into workable businesses so as to create the jobs of the future and get the economy growing again. Applied research centres and principal investigator teams are highly advanced models which partner researchers with both universities and industry partners, to ensure that commercialisation can happen.
“In particular, cloud computing is an area which both Fine Gael before the election and the Programme for Government identified as a key priority. According to a recent report by Microsoft, Ireland’s cloud computing industry could be worth €9.5billion per annum and employ 8,600 people by 2014. The new applied research centre announced today, which will connect both multinationals and Irish enterprises with researchers, can see Ireland take the lead in this crucial high growth area.
Appendix: measures announced by Minister Bruton
1. Applied research centre in energy/smart grid, €6million (Science Foundation Ireland)
The Government will provide €6m to immediately commence a new energy research centre, funded through Science Foundation Ireland under its Strategic Research Clusters programme. This new Energy SRC, which is being hosted at UCD, will support the employment of 40 high-quality research personnel. This is an area where Ireland is already strong and has the potential to become a world leader.
The Energy SRC will partner with industries involved in developing the smart grid, ESB, Eirgrid, Bord Gais, Intel, Ericsson, Siemens, and many others. The industry partners already employ in excess of 20,000 people in Ireland and this initiative will help to secure these jobs and will underpin future job creation. The 25 industry partners connected to this Energy SRC have committed a further €2.3m in funding over 5 years.
Ireland’s natural advantages in this area include its very high wind penetration, abundant wave power and moderate climate. These factors provide an ideal test bed to rapidly develop, pilot, and integrate new technologies and together with the high profile of the industry collaboration, have been pivotal in increasing the demand for engagement with the new Energy SRC.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland acknowledges that the smart grid will play a critical role in underpinning the energy needs of a revitalised Irish economy, and will lead to the creation of significant employment opportunities.
2. Principal investigator research teams, €44million over 5 years (Science Foundation Ireland)
44 Science Foundation Ireland funded Principal Investigator (PI) Awards will support close to 300 top-class researcher positions in a broad range of areas.
The areas of research covered by these awards will include:
· in the Life Sciences – cancer, early diagnosis of the childhood cancer Neuroblastoma, lung disease, genetics for improved disease treatment, investigation of therapeutic interventions for Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Improved crop and plant cell productivity;
· in the ICT area – neonatal neurological monitoring, graphics for gaming, resource management in data centres, advanced telecoms networks, autonomic management of smart cities,
· in energy – wave energy, and energy conversion and storage devices.
The 44 research projects have attracted 23 industry partners including Inercept Pharma Ltd., Pevion Biotech Ltd, Sigmoid Pharma (Ireland), as well as informal collaborators such as Nestle, Kerry Group, and Alimentary Health. On the ICT side, industry partners include Intel Labs Europe, IBM, Alcatel-Lucent/BLI, Aquamarine Power (Edinburgh), Infineon, Disney Research, ESBI, France Telecom, Howard Science (UK), and a host of others.
3. Applied research centre in cloud computing, €5million over 5 years
The Programme for Government identified Cloud Computing as an area of particular future potential.
Cloud Computing provides for the delivery of hosted services via the internet and can represent significant cost savings to the end user, for example through avoiding the initial financial investment in hardware, ongoing maintenance, and necessary technical staff. It also represents a huge opportunity for companies in Ireland to develop products and service which capitalise on this new approach to computing.
Indeed, a recent report commissioned by Microsoft predicts that Ireland is poised to capture a significant piece of the world cloud computing market. The report suggests that by 2014, the cluster of firms involved in this industry in Ireland could generate €9.5bn per annum and employ about 8,600 people. The availability of Cloud Computing will boost the formation of new businesses and the creation of new jobs across the Irish economy.
I can announce that a new applied research centre in Cloud Computing will be established as part of the Government’s efforts to support the development of cloud computing in Ireland.
4. Competitive start-up fund, €750,000 (Enterprise Ireland)
Following on a pilot programme launched by Enterprise Ireland for start up companies in the internet and games apace, a further competitive fund for start ups will be rolled out in Cleantech, Industrial and Life-sciences sectors. This will be launched end May 2011.
The total value of fund this year will be €750,000 and it will support 15 companies. It will be a competitive process for companies which will each receive a €50,000 equity investment to support the company to deliver their product or service or to get the project to a key funding milestone. Companies will also be provided with a mentor who will work with the company for a period of about 10 days.
5. Increased resources for the High Potential Start Up programme (Enterprise Ireland)
In recognition of the importance of High Potential Start Up companies to job creation in new and emerging areas of opportunity, the Government will increase resources available to support HPSUs, so that by 2014 100 will be created each year compared to 80 in 2010.