R&D ‘at heart of economy’s future’

THE future for the Irish economy is bright provided we continue to increase our focus on R&D.

Speakers attending an innovation conference in Dublin’s IMI yesterday stressed the critical role R&D must continue to play in building the future of this economy.

Statistics show spending on R&D by enterprise has risen 31% in real terms over the five-year period to 2009 and currently stands at €1.87 billion.

Research personnel in enterprises have risen 16% from 13,621 in 2005 to 15,773 in 2009, with the number of PhD-level researchers nearly doubling from 830 to 1,639 in 2009.

The most recent figures show 1,282 businesses were active in research by the end of 2009 with a third of them spending €500,000 or more a year, while 45% engage in technological innovation and 43% in non-technological.

On the EU Innovation Scoreboard Ireland ranked 5th among the top 10 performers, below Britain, ahead of France and on a par with the Netherlands.

Martin Shanagher, head of science & technology at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, said “research and innovation” will be a key component in building our economic future.

IBM’s managing director in Ireland, Peter O’Neill, said: “Our collaborative research projects in Ireland are an important element of our high-value business strategy.”

The conference, hosted by Leyton Ireland, concluded that many positives can be taken from this country’s innovation performance to date.


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