Enterprise Ireland Annual Report and Accounts 2009

Chief Executive Officer's Report (Continued)

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Promoting innovation, commercialisation and R&D

At its core the Government's Building Ireland's Smart Economy framework has the objective of creating an exemplary research, innovation and commercialisation ecosystem that capitalises on the €8.2 billion State investment in science and technology. As the primary agency charged with driving the commercialisation of research, Enterprise Ireland acts as the bridge between companies and publicly funded research institutions to build collaborative links and ensure that commercially viable knowledge is translated into economic return.

In 2009, Enterprise Ireland focused on supporting short-term R&D activity within companies and on the commercialisation of third-level research to deliver innovative technologies, products and processes.

Promoting R&D and innovation in companies

  • In 2009, €44.9 million was approved to support in-company R&D projects.

Client companies' commitment to R&D is stronger than ever - by the end of the year, 52 companies were investing in excess of €2 million per year on R&D projects and 704 clients were spending over €100,000 per year.

In 2010, Enterprise Ireland will continue to promote and provide support for in-company R&D as a key driver of innovation and competitive advantage in the Irish economy.

  • Enterprise Ireland's Innovation Voucher scheme enables companies to acquire cost-effective R&D solutions from third-level institutions. With a focus on near-term impact, this initiative is particularly relevant to smaller companies that are not in a position to carry out their own research. A total of 492 Innovation Vouchers were redeemed in 2009, at a value of €2.4 million.
  • Thirty clients benefited from the Innovation Partnerships Programme which offers financial support to a company and third-level research institution to collaborate on a research project.

Supporting business networks to promote R&D

  • To stimulate innovation networking among industry and sector groups, Enterprise Ireland provided €600,000 in funding to three enterprise innovation networks in 2009 - the Irish Software Innovation Network, the Construction IT Alliance, and the Industry Research & Development Group. These networks promote innovative business practices in member companies and build collaborative links with researchers to gain access to R&D expertise.

Ergo Logo

Dublin-based software company Ergo provides IT solutions and services to businesses and the public sector, and is a strategic IT partner to leading organisations such as Bank of Scotland (Ireland), Microsoft, Pfizer, the Irish Revenue Commissioners and VHI.

On opening their new R&D facility, John Purdy, Chief Executive Officer of Ergo said:

"Innovation is the lifeblood of Ireland's future, allowing us to stay competitive on the aggressive world stage. Home-grown, knowledge-based companies like Ergo will play an important role in the future of Ireland Inc., something that Enterprise Ireland has recognised through its R&D Fund which enabled this to happen."

Innovation Ireland Logo

In June 2009 the Taoiseach, Mr Brian Cowen T.D. announced the appointment of an innovation taskforce to advise the Government on its strategy for positioning Ireland as an international innovation hub and to assist in making the Smart Economy a reality. The group was assembled to advise the Government on options to increase innovation and entrepreneurship, and to ensure that investment in science, technology and research translates into high-value jobs and sustainable economic growth. Enterprise Ireland welcomes this initiative and looks forward to working with the group on implementation in 2010 and beyond.