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Chair of Tyndall National Institute, Eoin O’Driscoll,
CEO, Professor William Scanlon,
Deputy President of UCC, John O’Halloran,
Ladies and Gentlemen – Good afternoon.
First of all, can I just say I’m delighted to visit Tyndall today.
I have been meaning to get down here for some time and when I found out we had a Cabinet meeting in Cork, the first thing I said was - I have to visit Tyndall when I’m down.
Since my appointment as Minister, I have heard nothing but good things about your work and I would like to thank Professor Scanlon for the invitation to be with you today so I can see first-hand the excellent work of Tyndall in driving what really is ground-breaking innovation in the ICT sector.
In particular, today we are celebrating the huge success of Tyndall under the first call of my Department’s new Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund.
We have four very exciting projects worth over €20million in with Tyndall involvement and I am delighted to be able to meet with some of the successful project leaders today.
I have to say the response to the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund was phenomenal.
We received over three hundred Expressions of Interest – representing around one-billion-euro worth of projects, all coming with industry co-funding.
That sends out a very positive signal about the environment for technology innovation in Ireland and the appetite that exists within industry for collaborative research – that includes large firms and SMEs, working in collaboration with research bodies such as Tyndall.
The successful projects made it through a highly competitive process, which included screening by a panel of international experts, who had some very tough decisions to make.
The fact that four of the twenty-seven successful projects have Tyndall involvement is a clear indication of the quality, novelty and industry-relevance of the research conducted here.
The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is a new and very exciting fund.
It is one of the first funds of its kind in the world, and never before in Ireland have we had a Fund to support company-to-company collaborations of this nature, working with public research bodies.
The DTIF is also a key component of Project Ireland 2040 and the Government’s new Future Jobs initiative, and I believe it has a very important role to play in ensuring that Ireland is at the cutting edge in terms of developing new technologies which will change the way we live and work into the future.
Of course - positioning Ireland in that space will be central to securing our continued economic success.
The Government strongly believes that effective industry-academic collaboration is the driver for the successful translation of the best new ideas from the lab, into innovative new products and services in the marketplace – and ultimately, the delivery of good quality sustainable jobs for our people.
As John Tyndall himself noted: “Knowledge once gained casts a light beyond its own immediate boundaries.”
Today, I want to recognise and acknowledge the valuable role that Tyndall is playing in developing game changing technology that improves our lives and also ensures that Ireland is highly competitive and securing jobs for the future.
Tyndall plays a key role in driving innovation in ICT, something which is of huge benefit to our base of multinationals and SMEs.
The ICT industry in Ireland employs over thirty-seven thousand people and generates thirty-five billion euro in exports annually.
Tyndall has played a very important role in driving the growth of this sector, and other related sectors, in Ireland.
It is for that reason that Future Jobs Ireland 2019 identifies the expansion of Tyndall as an investment priority, so that it can maintain its position as a leading centre of scale in translational research playing an important role in the further development of ICT-related innovation in Ireland.
I look forward to hearing more about those plans as part of my visit here later today.
Future Jobs is very much the Government’s plan for how we will help to prepare Ireland for the challenges we face and for the economy of tomorrow.
Tyndall is recognised in the Future Jobs strategy for the role it can play in delivering ‘Innovation and Technological Change’ and in ‘Skills and Talent Development’ – two of the key pillars of the Plan.
Future Jobs also places a strong focus on increasing productivity and boosting participation rates so we can take advantage of technological changes and embed them in all parts of our economy.
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, said 30 years on from his world-changing creation, that: “The future is still so much bigger than the past.”
Being here in Tyndall today, seeing your work and meeting your skilled researchers, I share this optimism about the potential of the future - the potential of technology to improve our society and our economy.
As we, in Government, invest more in developing this future potential, it is leading to an exciting time, rich in possibility, for research, development and innovation in Ireland.
Each of you here today has a role in driving this exciting new potential.
And I want to commend all of you – your work now, and for years to come, will be important not just for Ireland, but for the world.
Through strategies such as Future Jobs, and new exciting initiatives such as DTIF, and through increased research funding we, in Government, will continue to support you to stay curious, stay questioning, stay inventive.
That, in turn, will ensure that Ireland stays at the front globally in terms of our economic success.
Go raibh maith agat.