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Innovation 2020

Ireland's current strategy for research and development, science and technology.

Innovation 2020, Ireland's current strategy for research and development, science and technology, was launched by the Taoiseach and the Ministers for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Research and Skills at the 2015 Innovation Showcase in the National Convention Centre on the 8th December 2015. The showcase was attended by over 2,000 delegates from across industry, academia, the public sector and Ireland's research system.

Innovation 2020 aims to build on the significant successes delivered by the Government’s science strategy over the past decade, which has seen Ireland dramatically improve its performance globally in this area. The next phase of the strategy is aimed at building on existing infrastructures and achieving ambitious private-public collaborations.

A key ambition of the Strategy is to increase total investment in R&D in Ireland, led by the private sector, to 2.5% of GNP. On current official projections, this would mean that over €5billion will be invested per year in R&D by the private and public sectors by 2020. This will represent almost doubling current levels of investment (€2.9billion in 2014).

The new Strategy aims to build on Ireland's significant investment in science during the past fifteen years. Its key goals are:

  • Excellent research will be performed in strategically important areas with relevance and impact for the economy and society;
  • Ireland will have a strong, innovative and internationally competitive enterprise base, growing employment, sales and exports;
  • The development of a renowned pool of talent in Ireland’s public research system and in industry, which maximises exchange of talent and knowledge between the two;
  • A coherent, joined-up innovation ecosystem, responsive to emerging opportunities, delivering enhanced impact through the creation and application of knowledge; and
  • An internationally competitive research system that acts as a magnet and catalyst for talent and industry.

Among the targets to be delivered by the Strategy are:

  • The number of research personnel in enterprise will be increased by 60% to 40,000;
  • Research masters and PhD enrolments will be increased by 30% to 2,250;
  • Private investment of R&D performed in the public research system will be doubled;
  • 40% increase in the share of PhD researchers transferring from SFI research teams to industry;
  • Ireland's participation in International Research Organisations will be expanded – we will apply for full membership of ELIXIR, and we will explore membership options for ESO and CERN;
  • The network of Research Centres will be further developed, building critical mass and addressing enterprise needs;
  • A successor to the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions will be rolled out to include investment in the creation of new, and the maintenance and upgrading of existing, facilities and equipment and ensure full utilisation;
  • €1.25billion funding under the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020 will be drawn down;
  • A new Programme of Funding for Frontier Research will be introduced, providing resilience and responsiveness to meet new challenges or opportunities as they emerge;
  • Challenge-centric research will be initiated to stimulate solutions-driven collaborations bringing together enterprise, higher education institutions and public sector to identify and address national challenges;
  • Horizon-scanning – in the coming years a formal horizon-scanning exercise will be  undertaken to identify areas of strategic commercial opportunity for Irish-based enterprises, this process will feed into the next research  prioritisation exercise in 2018; and
  • International benchmarking – we will benchmark Ireland’s performance in these areas against other comparable economies, and develop steps to improve our comparative performance.

The Innovation 2020 Implementation Group is driving the implementation of the Strategy at an overall level. This group has a whole-of-Government approach, includes representatives of the main public research funders as core members and is chaired by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. The Group report annually to Cabinet on the implementation of the strategy and publish annual Progress Reports.

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