Govt's €500m R&D budget set to focus on economic returns

The Government has launched a new plan to target its scientific research budget in areas that have the greatest potential for economic return.

Under the plan, the €500m research budget will be spent on projects that fulfil strict criteria, including the existence of a global market in which Irish-based enterprises can compete;

Former manager of Intel Ireland Jim O'Hara is chairing the Research Prioritisation Steering Group which recommended this course of action.

He says Ireland needs to shift its focus away from projects which need a lot of money up front, and have a long gestation period.

“The investment that has been made in research is one of the really good things that we have done in Ireland in terms of supporting enterprise," Mr O'Hara said. "We need to go further now.

"Our group has proposed to Government that the over-riding goal for the years ahead should be to accelerate the delivery of specific economic outcomes from our investment in research.

"The priority areas that we have identified focus on key areas of relevance to the economy and society including manufacturing and business services, remote healthcare and digital services, smart energy grids and sustainable food production.”

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