The European Space Agency is set to double its Irish workforce, creating more than 1,000 space technology jobs over the next four years.
The announcement was made yesterday during a visit by director general of the ESA Jan Woerner to Ireland. It follows an agreement between the ESA and the Tyndall National Institute that will see a Space Business Incubator established to support fledgling Irish businesses in space related technologies.
The number of Irish companies in the space sector is expected to soar to more than 80, with annual income rising from €76 million in 2015 to €135m by 2020.
The new multi-disciplinary entity, led by the Cork-based Tyndall National Institute will help to develop 25 Irish start-up companies in space-related technologies by 2020.
Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor described it as an “exciting time” for the Irish space industry.
“With the support of my Department and Enterprise Ireland, the Irish space sector is set to expand at an unprecedented rate over the next few years.
“Our investment in ESA will manifest itself through new companies entering the space sector, scaling of existing companies and the development of a strong cohort of high technology start-ups, leading to increased sales, exports and jobs.
“Investment in ESA space programmes, given the pace of expansion of the Global and European space economies, will put high-tech Irish companies and researchers in a position to exploit this potential to the maximum,” she said.
Details of a partnership between the Irish Research Council and the ESA were also revealed yesterday to mark Mr Woerner’s visit during which he met Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
The traineeship agreement will give Irish science and engineering graduates a chance to make their mark on space exploration.
Announcing details of the partnership Dr Eucharia Meehan, director of the Irish Research Council, said: “This is a hugely exciting opportunity for science and engineering graduates.
“We are delighted to be embarking on this partnership, which will allow Irish graduates in these sectors to get involved in cutting-edge space research projects on the international stage.”
Dr Woerner said: “This agreement will provide opportunities for young men and women from the Irish R&D community to come to ESA sites around Europe and collaborate on exciting space projects and innovative technology developments.”
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