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Taoiseach, Ladies and Gentlemen - I am delighted to be here today to participate in the launch of four new SFI Research Centres - a truly significant announcement for research in Ireland.
The Government’s strategy for research and development – Innovation 2020 - sets out the vision for a strong sustainable economy and better society through excellent, talented and impactful research and development.
The strategy is aimed at building on the significant successes delivered over the past decade, which has seen Ireland dramatically improve our performance globally in this area.
A key deliverable under the strategy is the growth of SFI Research Centres – so I am particularly pleased to be in a position to announce the details of the four new centres today.
The investment today of €114 million - which includes €74 million from Government through my Department, combined with €40 million from industry - demonstrates the value we place collectively in this sector.
The new Centres will undertake excellent scientific research in partnership with industry to address critical and emerging areas of the economy including advanced additive and smart manufacturing, neurological diseases and the bioeconomy.
Science, technology and innovation are central to ensuring a sustainable economy for Ireland, which will bring better jobs and improved societal benefits for our citizens.
We live in uncertain economic and political times. Brexit, of course, is an unprecedented challenge. Massive technological disruption, and the urgent need to address issues such as climate change, adds to the challenges for small open economies like Ireland.
To remain competitive, we need to focus on what will be required to grow the economy both today and in the future.
Research, development, innovation and a highly-educated, well-paid workforce will be key points of differentiation for Ireland and the drivers of our future economic and social success. I will be prioritising this work as Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation.
We must attract the brightest talent from across the globe, while at the same time invest in our own people to ensure we have the talent and skills to develop a sustainable and vibrant economy that benefits all – in every county of Ireland.
We are already a very attractive location - five of the top 10 companies on Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies have Irish operations. But of course, we must do more. And we need to be ambitious.
Today’s €114 million investment is a significant step and a strong endorsement from both Government and Industry in the work of SFI.
I would like to congratulate all of those involved, but particularly the Centre Directors here today.
This will bring the current total of SFI Research Centres in Ireland to 16. I’m sure these four new centres will be as successful as the others, in delivering cutting-edge research and continuing to capture the interest of industry.
- I want to acknowledge and thank SFI, led by Professor Mark Ferguson, for the excellent work they are doing in close partnership with IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. Your work is crucial to achieving a long term sustainable economy and better society.
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