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IRISH INNOVATION POLICY

Benschop, Nick, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands,


296428nb@student.eur.nl
Sturrus, Edwin, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands,
294763es@student.eur.nl

Abstract
The purpose of this research is to provide a detailed analysis of the innovation policy executed by
the Irish government. This starts with a general overview of different plans and government
programs that are currently in place within the innovation policy. Followed by a review of the
real life impact of the innovation policy on Irish companies and universities. The results from
these topics combined will help determine the actual success of the policy. Finally some advice
and ideas will be provided to help improve stimulation of innovation in Ireland.

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1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Research background

This research paper is the result of the research done for the course “Studieproject Economie &
Informatica (2007-2008)”. Within the course each subgroup (two or three students) was assigned
a specific topic related to Ireland and/or innovation to research.
In this case the specific topic given is the Irish innovation policy. The research done on this topic
includes analysis of the workings of this policy and the positions of different instances as
universities or companies within the policy. The research also involved determining the actual
real life success of this government policy. This included identifying the strong and weak points
of the system and providing suggestions for possible improvements.
The main research question to be answered in this document is:
“To what extend does the Irish innovation policy succeed in creating and stimulating a
favourable climate for innovation?”

This question has been divided into several sub questions which have been assigned their own
section within this paper. These sub questions are:
• “What plans and government programs are there with regards to the innovation policy?”
(section 2)
• “What is the real life impact and success of these plans for Irish companies and universities
with specific focus on the collaboration between them?” (section 3)
• “How successful is the current Irish innovation policy?” (section 4)
• “What possible improvements can Ireland make to their innovation policy?” (section 5)

1.2 Research relevance

The results of this research project on the Irish innovation policy will provide an overview of the
global policy executed by the Irish government. Information will be provided on how the policy
works and also how well it works.
The information and conclusions from the research project can be relevant for innovative
companies considering Ireland as a location by providing them with information on the
possibilities as well as the limitations for innovation in Ireland. Alternatively it can give policy
makers insight in the workings of a working innovation policy. This may allow for the policy
makers to incorporate certain successful aspects into their own policy, or move them to take a
different approach at those aspects that are less of a success.

1.3 Information gathering

In preparation for the study trip to Ireland time was spend on gathering information on the
different companies and institutions to be visited. This was mainly for the purpose of getting a
general idea of the activities that they performed so that it was possible to assess their relevance
to the research project. Because of this it was possible to determine which companies or
institutions are most relevant to a specific subsection of the research. As a result, it became clear
what information to collect at each specific company or institution.

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The primary source of information on the Irish innovation policy was the Department of
Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The spokespersons provided information of the general
workings of the policy including strong and weak points and possible changes in the near future.
The various other companies and institutions visited such as Ammeon, Port of Dublin, CITO and
NovaUCD together provided for a general impression of the innovation within these instances as
well as the collaboration possibilities universities and companies.

2 OVERVIEW OF THE INNOVATION POLICY


2.1 General overview and departmental focus points

The Irish government has the vital task of creating, changing and maintaining the innovation
policy. More specifically, the responsibility lies with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and
Employment. While this department also has tasks and responsibilities in several other areas such
as labour affairs, trade and commerce, a lot of attention is being spend on the subject of
innovation. This was reflected in the departmental focus points, a large percentage of which
related to innovation. For three out of the seven points this was the case.
The first innovation related focus point is the implementation of the Lisbon reforms into the Irish
economy. The Lisbon agenda was presented in the year 2000 and set targets to make the EU "the
most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy by 2010". The second focus point is
innovation in itself. The department acknowledges the importance of innovation in the Irish
economy for the years to come. In order for Ireland to achieve this innovation intensive economy,
there has to be more focus on the subject of innovation and they need to be “stepping up a gear”
according Tommy Murray, the spokesperson for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and
Employment visited during the trip to Ireland. The final focus point involves an enables of
innovation. Ireland currently faces a problem with continued learning and the acquisition of new
skills by its labour force. There is a lack of interest and/or stimulation to continue learning and
staying up to date with the newest technological developments. Without this knowledge it
becomes difficult to innovate. In order to achieve an innovative economy this has to change.

2.2 Key innovation challenges

Perhaps due to the increased focus on innovation, the department has researched and found some
key challenges they face with regards to this subject. One of the main problems is the lack of
participation in life-long learning, as stated earlier. Another problem that Ireland faces, is the low
penetration in broadband internet. A relatively small group of the Irish populace has access to a
broadband connection. This presents two problems. Firstly it makes the diffusion of innovation
more difficult. Spreading new knowledge over the internet reaches less people, simply because
less people have fast access to internet. Secondly internet can provide excellent means for
different parties to find and communicate with each other for innovation purposes. The lack of
broadband use negates a big part of this advantage which works against innovation.
In many cases a lot of time and effort has to be spend on research for innovation to occur.
In this another obstacle can be found. Currently the amount invested by businesses in research
and development (R&D) is less than the Irish government would like it to be. Since most
businesses are driven by economic motives, it seems likely that businesses perceive R&D
investments as not worthwhile in an economical sense. It might be the case that the advantage
gained by the research is to small compared to the cost of the research and the risk incurred by the
business. It could also be the case that businesses are interested in doing research but lack the
means to do so. Possibly, the low broadband penetration mentioned earlier prevents them from

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finding a suitable partner. In order to achieve an innovation intensive economy the Department of
Enterprise, Trade and Employment needs to overcome this problem and make innovation more
accessible and financially profitable.
One final mayor problem that the department faces is the lack of collaboration between university
researchers and businesses on the subject of innovation. The reasons that cause this will be
analysed thoroughly in section 3. It is an obstacle that limits research and innovation potential.
Therefore, in order for Ireland’s economy to be truly innovation driven, it needs to be solved.

2.3 General strategy

The Irish government has placed great interest in innovation and has the ambitious plan of turning
the Irish economy into one of the leading innovative economies in the world. However, on this
subject the government faces some mayor problems. These problems are complex and have
different causes. Finding a solution to these problems and opening the doorway to an innovation
driven economy is not an easy task to accomplish. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and
Employment is aware of this and steps are being taken so that these problems can be better faced.
For 2007 the new function of Minister of State for Innovation Policy was set up. Michael Ahern,
the newly appointed minister, is charged with the responsibility of the governments innovation
plans and can focus his attention fully on the subject of innovation. In order for him to develop
and maintain the favourable innovation climate that Ireland seeks, he receives a great deal of
support from the government. When the Irish government published it’s latest strategy for
science, technology and innovation, it became clear that a budget of €8.2 billion was allocated
for these areas for the period up to 2013. This is over three times the budget allocated for the
period of 2000-2006. According to the government the additional financial resources are meant to
ensure that Ireland will be among the leading countries in generating and using new knowledge
for economic progress as well as enhancing the development of a knowledge based economy.
The Minister of State for Innovation Policy plans to allocate the funds he receives into a multi-
faceted innovation agenda which has the purpose of developing an innovation intensive economy
for Ireland. Importantly in this agenda there is a place for the non technological element of
innovation as well, which hasn’t been the case before. In the agenda there is a focus on the
following subjects:
• Working on firm level. This involves collaborating with individual (small) firms and taking
into consideration the recommendations of the Small Business Forum (SBF). The SBF was set
up by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to pay attention to the
environment that small businesses face and to give advice and feedback on their behalf.
• Research commercialisation. This involves making research more practical and attractive for
the commercial businesses.
• Intellectual Property.
• Making education more focused on and involved with innovation.
• Working together with other countries in the EU in a general EU-wide innovation strategy.

2.4 Enterprise Ireland

Within the Irish government there is a development agency focused on helping Irish companies
develop, Enterprise Ireland. The state agency aims to improve competitiveness of companies by
offering support in five different areas. One of these areas is research and innovation. Enterprise
Ireland and the programs it offers are useful in giving a good idea of the type of programs and
government initiatives out there to promote, stimulate and support innovations.

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Most programs that Enterprise Ireland offers are tied to R&D support for companies either in the
form of financial support or advise. One example of this is the use of innovation vouchers. This
program was introduced in Ireland this year, but already has been used in Holland for a while.
Small companies are the target group. If such a company wishes to explore a certain business
problem or opportunity they can apply for a €5000,- innovation voucher. This voucher can be
used to finance research on the particular subject by knowledge workers such as university
researchers. This allows for even small companies to invest in innovation. Another form of R&D
support comes in the form of productivity improvement. This mostly involves analysing and
advising on the business process of the company. Examples of this kind of support are
benchmarking, supply chain management but also financial support in acquiring new
technologies to improve efficiency.
A different kind of support offered by Enterprise Ireland comes in the form of collaboration
between companies and outside researchers. One way in which the agency hopes to achieve this
is through financial aid and stimulation. The Innovation Partnership Initiative for example can
finance between 50% and 70% of the research costs. This helps to make R&D in collaboration
with outside parties such as university researchers a lot more profitable for companies. However
the companies themselves still need to find the right partner to collaborate with, which isn’t easy.
Also there is a lot of paperwork involved with this program.
A different approach to improving the collaboration between companies and researchers has been
the establishment of so called Competence Centres. Prior to such a centre being created a group
of companies work together in finding and defining research interest which they have in common
and that can provide them with a competitive advantage. Enterprise Ireland selects the research
topics that have the most potential and works with the companies to help them find out exactly
what research resources they need. The researchers and other resources are assigned to the
competence centre. Some advantages of this system are that companies can share the risk of
research and that they are directly involved with the course and the results of the research.
Another main type of support related to innovation that Enterprise Ireland provides, looks at the
situation from a different angle. It aims to more successfully commercialise research so that it is
more relevant and interesting to companies. For example, they can provide Client Teams who
have knowledge of certain sectors and aware of the researchers within these sectors that are best
equipped to do research in such a way that it meets the demands of the companies. Aside from
this, Enterprise Ireland is also closely involved in the research process. It provides support and
advice to researchers so that their research is practical and commercially interesting. At the same
time it helps the researchers protect their work by helping with patent and intellectual property
issues.

2.5 Maintaining innovation

The current innovation policy looks very promising and it seems well equipped to take on the
problems Ireland currently faces with regards to realising a knowledge driven economy. However
over the course of six years many things can change. The needs of today may be very different
from the needs of tomorrow. In order for a favourable innovation climate to be sustainable, policy
makers need to evaluate and update their policy. In this the Irish government shines.
In order to help them identify the strong and weak points of the innovation policy, the
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment looked for a critical and independent group
which could advice them on a regular basis. They found this in Forfas, the national policy and
advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation. Forfas was founded by
the department itself in 1994. This board has the difficult task of assessing the innovation
progress within the Irish economy. One method of assessment originated from their collaboration

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with the National Competitiveness Council (NCC). The NCC uses over a hundred indicators to
determine the growth of competitiveness within Ireland. A second report is provided yearly to
define the problems that need to be tackled in order to improve the competitive advantage of Irish
companies.
While the advice and feedback provided to the Irish government can be very valuable, it is of no
use of the government doesn’t do anything with the information. Luckily this is not the case in
Ireland. The Irish government has showed a great willingness in listening to criticism on their
policies and looking for manners to improve them. This combined with the environment of
change in the current political climate, which allows the government to be very flexible, enables
the policy makers to find problems in their policies when they arise and, more importantly, to
quickly act on this information and to make changes where needed. This makes Ireland well
equipped to sustain a favourable innovation climate for long periods of time.

3 COLLABORATION
3.1 Current status of collaboration

In order to be successful in building a innovation intensive economy it’s important that


companies and universities are able to collaborate well. While visiting the various companies and
the University College Dublin it soon became apparent that there is one mayor problem that all of
these share. There is a lot of interest in collaboration of both companies and universities, though a
few factors are blocking it.

3.2 Capacity issues

First of all, companies are frequently failing in the setup because they lack capacity to establish a
collaboration group. Without setting up a fundament, it’s difficult to organise and establish
collaboration with universities
The best example we found in Ireland on this issue was at Reach. “Reach is a crosscutting project
set up by Government to deliver specific eGovernment services in Ireland. Its mission is to
improve the quality and efficiency of services offered by public service agencies to one another
and to the general public.” (Reach website. 30 October 2007. http://www.reach.ie/aboutus).
While visiting this company their spokesman told us that there is a lot of willingness within the
organisation to cooperate with universities, but so far it only occurred in a very limited amount.
While developing the UML templates they had some assistance from Trinity College professors,
but other than that there was no collaborated research done. On the university site we found out
that CITO at the University College Dublin is doing research in eGovernment, which could be
useful to Reach. The main reason our Reach spokesman provided was the lack of capacity of the
organisation. So far they didn’t have the chance to select people to set up collaboration with a
university.

3.3 Personal Contacts

On the other hand, universities are failing in the setup, because they require personal contacts to
get in contact with companies still. Getting personal contacts within companies takes a lot of time
and before collaboration takes place it can take several years to gain trust and get the
collaboration set up.
The best example here was found at CITO at the University College Dublin. “The Centre for
Innovation, Technology & Organisation (CITO) is home to a multi-disciplinary research
community that is broadly concerned with understanding the role played by information,

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knowledge and information and communication technologies (ICT) in organisational processes,
both within and between business corporations and broader social institutions. More specifically,
a key focus of the Centre's research activities is on understanding the dynamics of ICT-enabled
organisational change, and on developing approaches and implications for the management of IS
innovation.” (CITO website. 29 October 2007. http://mis.ucd.ie/cito). Their spokesman told us
they are collaboration with companies, but mainly after a long time of personal contact. They are
looking to collaborate more often, but require personal contacts to get collaboration with
companies of the ground.

3.4 Practical results

Another point is the fact that companies require practical research results, while universities want
their researchers to publish yearly. Companies like to have results they can use or implement in
their current business model. This results in companies not directly willing to collaborate, since
the results might not be useful to them.
While visiting Ammeon, their spokesman agreed on this problem. They were hesitating to
collaborate, because they aren’t sure whether or not the research results could be useful to their
company. Ammeon is a privately held consultancy focused on technology. For example ICT
research done at CITO could be useful to them if they cooperate during the research.
The Centre for Innovation, Technology and Organisation (CITO) acknowledges that there are
problems in this area. In order for companies to be interested in research, it has to be clear to
them that they will get something useful out of the research. However a lot of services that
companies are interested in, don’t deliver very useful tangible results. The problem here is that
researchers receive their funding based on the number of research papers they publish but in order
to write a quality paper they need these tangible results. Because of this method of rewarding
researchers it is less interesting for a researcher to collaborate with a company in a useful manner.
This conflict of interest is one of the main causes of the lack of university-company collaboration.

3.5 Irish Government

Spokesperson for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Development, Tommy Murray, agrees
that the lack of cooperation between universities and companies currently is a problem. While he
ensured that there are in fact many programs and initiatives supported by the Irish government to
help universities and companies find each other, he acknowledged that there is a need for more
collaboration and centralisation of these programs. According to him, there is currently an
“awareness problem” which makes it difficult for people to find the right program to fit their
needs. Also many are unaware that such a program even exists for them.
The Irish government has supported the setup of a few facilities which have the task to promote
and support collaboration between companies and universities. A few examples to follow.

3.6 NovaUCD

NovaUCD is the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre located at the University College
Dublin. NovaUCD opened its doors in October 2003. NovaUCD was funded by a public-private
partnership. Six private sector companies together with Enterprise Ireland funded the build up of
NovaUCD. NovaUCD’s goal is to become a leader in the commercialisation in research.
NovaUCD works together with UCD researchers to find a commercial business model for their
research. This may be either by licensing the intellectual property to existing companies or by
setting up small companies themselves.

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Besides that, NovaUCD has a role to bring the university and companies together for
collaboration. They are the contact point for companies looking for collaboration in research at
the UCD.

3.7 ICT Ireland

ICT Ireland is a lobby group for the knowledge sector within the Irish Business Employers
Confederation. ICT Ireland represents more than 300 companies all over the world. ICT Ireland
was launched in May 2001.
Their goal is to make sure Ireland establishes a better global position in information and
communications technology. Following the ICT Ireland website, their mission is to:

• Raise awareness of the importance of the information and communications technology (ICT)
sector to the Irish economy in all sections of society
• Ensure that Ireland is an attractive location for ICT investment by both foreign and indigenous
companies
• Promote an environment that encourages innovation
• Develop linkages between the component parts of the ICT industry in Ireland both indigenous
and foreign owned.

3.8 Expertise Ireland

Expertise Ireland is an online knowledge portal. They provide access to the biggest Knowledge
Management Systems Ireland has.
The portal allows users to search for researchers. They can find their full research profiles,
including the areas of expertise, consultancy work and areas of interest.
The portal also allows users research resources. This allows users to find the research facilities
which the academic institutions in Ireland have to offer. This search enables the user to see what
institution, faculty, department and research centre it has to offer.
Besides that the portal allows users to access the technology transfer licensing opportunities.
Users are able to find background information, contact information, intellectual property status,
market opportunity and commercial potential. Other than searching it allows users to even request
funding for their research or company.

3.9 Future of collaboration

Currently the collaboration between companies and universities is one of the key challenges to
tackle in order to establish an innovation intensive economy. The current facilities in Ireland to
improve collaboration are growing, though not all key players are aware of those facilities.
Besides that, for a company it’s not always easy to find the most suitable place to go to get in
contact with universities. Second to that, university researchers have to comply to the companies
will to provide practical applicable results. With the current effort done by the Irish government it
seems likely that in the near future companies and universities will intensify their collaboration.

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4 THE PRO’S AND CON’S OF THE INNOVATION POLICY
4.1 The positive aspects of the policy

First of all, during the research and the visit to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and
Employment it became quite clear that the government is willing to spend a lot of time and effort.
As stated earlier, the Irish government is putting in a lot of effort to shape the current economy
into one of the leading innovative, knowledge driven economies in the world. One important
reason behind this can be found within the history of the Irish economy. During the 1990’s
Ireland, which was then one of the poorer countries in Europe, experienced a period of rapid
economic growth. This growth has since slowed down somewhat but it still has the highest
average real GDP growth in Europe. Sustaining this growth however is becoming increasingly
difficult. The Irish government sees the potential and importance of innovation in potentially
sustaining this growth. This is supported by the fact that for the period up to 2013 the budget for
science, technology and innovation has been tripled to €8.2 billion and that a new Minister of
State was assigned for the purpose of stimulating and sustaining innovation.
Another positive side to the innovation policy in general is that it seems that the government
knows what their main obstacles will be in setting up a leading innovative economy. Also they
have some very clear ideas on how to overcome these obstacles. In other words they also know
how and where to spend their budget as can be seen from the many programs out there as
discussed in section 2. In this Ireland distinguishes itself from countries with a similar innovation
level, such as Holland, in a positive manner. Currently it seems that Holland doesn’t seem to
know on which key markets to focus their innovation efforts. This makes it so that the innovation
budget is perhaps spread too thin and doesn’t achieve an optimal result. Ireland however has
identified their most relevant markets to focus their attention on. Currently these markets mainly
encompass biotechnology and ICT, however when these change it is likely that the innovation
focus will shift with them. By focusing their attention on the areas that matter most, Ireland is
likely to get a lot of value for their money spend.
With regards to sustaining an innovation driven economy, there is a lot of potential. In this
Ireland has three big assets that work in their favour. First is the big role that innovation is likely
to play in sustaining the growth of the economy. This makes innovation a main concern of the
government, which means a lot of time and effort will continue to be put in innovation. Secondly,
the of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has access to reports and feedback from independent,
critical en knowledgeable institutions on the current standings of the innovation policy on a
regular basis. This helps them determine the current problems they face and the success of their
current policy. Lastly, the department is also willing to analyse the criticism they receive.
Furthermore, due to the Irish political climate, it is possible to quickly react to this information.
Within the department there is an established “repeatedly of change” which allows for quick
changes to the policy when necessary, according to Gerry Monks, spokesperson of the
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

4.2 The negative aspects of the policy

While the current innovation policy seems to have a lot of potential, things are far from perfect
and there is still a lot of room for improvements. Improvements that are needed if Ireland truly
wishes to become one of the world’s leading innovative economies. Oddly enough the
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment itself is well aware of some of these issues,
mentioning them in their presentation. However, while they take some of their mayor problems
very seriously in devising programs to overcome them, there are some areas in which government
measures seem lacking at best. This is the case for the issues of low broadband penetration and

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the general lack of life-long learning. Similarly, Gerry Monks mentioned that in order for the
innovative economy to be successful, it needs to be efficient and flexible. In order to achieve that
he mentioned that the long application processes and paperwork need to reduced. However, no
real plans are currently formed to actually achieve this.
The biggest problem that Ireland currently faces with regards to innovation however, is the lack
of collaboration between universities and companies on the subject of research. This is the result
of a combination as mentioned in section 3. These include, companies not being able to find
research that provides them with relevant and practical results, companies and universities not
being able to find the right partners for their research and a general lack of awareness to the
different government programs out there to support them or not being able to find the right one
for them to use. Combined, they severely limit innovation potential.
On a different note, another issue that works against university-company cooperation is the
conflict of interests that exists between the parties. Companies prefer simple, easy to implement
solutions that can improve their processes/operations and in doing so provide them with a
financial benefit. Researchers however are currently rewarded based on the amount of research
reports they publish, which are usually broad and not very practical. Seeing as they both have
different goals it becomes difficult to come to an agreement for successful collaboration.
It is now clear that the large amount of time, finances and effort put into the innovation policy in
itself aren’t enough to ensure a successful knowledge-driven economy at least for now. Many of
the plans and programs presented by the government look very promising in theory but aren’t
delivering the desired effect. Advice to help Ireland deal with their problems will be presented in
section 5.

5 ADVICE
5.1 Introduction

Due to the flexibility of the Irish government and the regular advice from critical institutions
combined with the increasing focus on innovation, it is likely that some of the biggest problems
of this time will be tackled before too long. Until this, the key challenges of the innovation policy
are undefeated. To make sure the main problems within the current system get solved on the short
term, we suggest a couple of changes to the Irish innovation policy.

5.2 Reward system

Currently there is some friction between companies and universities in terms of research results.
While companies require practical research results, universities want their researchers to publish
yearly. Companies require having results they can use or implement in their current business
model. This results in companies not directly willing to collaborate, since the results might not be
useful to them.
We suggest to alter the reward system for researchers, so that the conflict of interest between
companies and researchers vanishes. This can be done by having the universities provide funding
for research done in cooperation with companies. Or by having the industry pay for research more
often. This way the researchers will keep their funding, but they have to collaborate together with
companies and provide practical results.

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5.3 Organise collaboration facilities

There are a couple of initiatives taken by the Irish government to provide innovation. A few of
those are facilities aimed to improve collaboration between companies and universities. Examples
as NovaUCD, ICT Ireland, Expertise Ireland and Enterprise Ireland have been described in
previous chapters. The problem with having multiple programs, is that this makes it harder for
companies to find the most suitable contact point.
To be sure all players know the place where they can request funding or collaboration. We
suggest to combine or at least link those programs together, to get a descent overview of the
available programs. Those programs should of course keep their individual scopes as they
currently have. ICT Ireland for example should remain the IBEC lobby group, focusing on the
ICT sector.

5.4 Improve awareness

Since most facilities and programs for collaboration have been set up in the last 5 years, not all
companies and researchers know about them in detail. We recommend the government to inform
the companies and universities in Ireland more thoroughly, so that all involved are aware of the
existing facilities.

5.5 Final words of advice

The Irish government has a strong focus on innovation. Their goal of establishing a innovative
intensive economy is set and although it’s facing some key challenges, they are making progress.
For the government it’s most important to actively listen to the key players of the innovation
policy, the industry and universities. When doing so, the innovation policy can be improved to
counter the remaining challenges.

6 CONCLUSION
There is a lot of interest in and focus on innovation in Ireland by the government. For this
purpose Ireland has recently appointed a Minister of State for Innovation Policy, Michael Ahern.
Innovation is an important focus point within the Department of Enterprise, Trade and
Employment which will only continue to become more important with a total budget of 8.3
billion euro for the coming years up to 2012. Some of the key challenges with regard to
innovation in Ireland are:
• Lack of business investments in research and development
• Insufficient participation in life-long learning
• Lack of academia-industry cooperation and collaboration.

Which means that the current situation needs to improve for the innovation policy to be a success.
That said, the future does indeed look very promising. Ireland’s flexible and self-critical approach
with regard to government policies, the increased focus and budget for innovation and the
willingness of companies, government and universities alike to innovate together are all very
helpful in creating and sustaining a favourable innovation climate.
The main challenge in our opinion is the lack of cooperation and collaboration between
companies and universities. Though in the last couple of years a lot of initiatives have been taken
by the government and therefore the facilities to support collaboration have been greatly
improved. Working examples as NovaUCD, Enterprise Ireland, Expertise Ireland and ICT Ireland
we mentioned are a good step in the direction of tackling this challenge.

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We still recommend some changes to the innovation policy in order to speed up the process of
defeating the key challenges. Recommended changes from the current policy include:
• Alter the reward system for researchers so that the conflict of interest between companies and
researchers vanishes.
• Turn the many existing programs for university-company collaboration into a small and easy
to understand group with clear individual scopes.
• Make all those involved aware of the existence and function of these programs.
• Actively listen to advice and feedback from companies and universities.

To come to an conclusion and answer the main research question:


“To what extend does the Irish innovation policy succeed in creating and stimulating a
favourable climate for innovation?”

In the current situation there is a solid base for a good innovation climate, however there are still
some mayor issues that need to be addressed before it can be considered successful. However, it
seems likely that this will be the case in the near future possibly allowing Ireland to become one
of the leading innovative countries in the world.

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Enterprise Ireland website. http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/
Reach website. http://www.reach.ie/
CITO website. http://mis.ucd.ie/cito

13
INNOVATION & ICT

VRiSBI International Research Project Ireland 2007

Study Association VRiSBI


Kamer H11-02
Postbus 1738
3000 DR ROTTERDAM
Email: info@vrisbi.nl
Internet: www.vrisbi.nl
Tel: +31-10-408 8846

Emiel Caron
Assistant Professor
Room H10-19
P.O.Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
The Netherlands

Email: caron@few.eur.nl
Tel. +31-10-4081342
Fax. +31-10-408 9162

VRiSBI is the study association for the study Economics & Informatics at the Erasmus University
Rotterdam. We have over 350 members and there are around 100 students currently in their final
year of the bachelor or master program.
One of our most important tasks is to connect students of Economics & Informatics with
companies to give them an inside look how it is in the field. We try to do this by regularly
organizing different kinds of activities in association with interested companies.
The development and the pleasure of learning for the student is important to us. We do this by
organizing all kinds of activities like company visits, study trips, symposia, etc. etc.
This report in front of you is part of the VRiSBI International Research Project Ireland 2007. The
CD-Rom contains all the reports and it also contains the presentations from the symposium
‘Innovation & ICT’.
ISBN of the complete report: 978-90-812660-1-7

14
VRiSBI International Research
Project

“Innovation and ICT”


Comparing Ireland with The
Netherlands

Please visit http://studiereis2007.vrisbi.nl for the


complete paper of this presentation.
Other papers and presentations are also available.