What We Do

Research Prioritisation

Research Prioritisation is about enhancing the relevance and impact of our public investment in research, while also maintaining the excellence of our research, further strengthening enterprise engagement and take-up of public research, and driving commercialisation of research.

Ongoing implementation of research prioritisation is seeing more targeted investment in research and innovation, which will further enhance the effectiveness and impact of our research investment to deliver high quality, sustainable employment.


The report of the Research Prioritisation Steering Group recommended 14 areas of opportunity as well as underpinning technologies and infrastructure to support these priority areas which should receive the majority of competitive public investment in STI over a five year period to the end of 2017.

The areas were identified on the basis of

  • existing strengths of the public research system,
  • existing strengths of the enterprise base,
  • opportunities that exist in terms of the global marketplace and
  • those which are most likely to deliver economic and societal impact, and of course jobs.

The report also recommended a number of measures (13 Systemic Recommendations) which were required to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the STI system in order to support the implementation of prioritisation.

The priority areas are underpinned by research across six important science and technology platforms, namely Basic Biomedical Science, Nanotechnology, Advance Materials, Microelectronics, Photonics and Software Engineering and certain integrating infrastructure which is required to support the priority areas.

The 14 Priority Areas are as follows:

  • A Future Networks and Communications
  • B Data Analytics Management, Security and Privacy 
  • C Digital Platforms, Content and Applications 
  • D Connected Health and Independent Living 
  • E Medial Devices 
  • F Diagnostics 
  • G Therapeutics – synthesis formulation, processing and drug deliver
  • H Food for Health
  • I Sustainable Food Production and Processing
  • J Marine Renewable Energy
  • K Smart Grids and Smart Cities
  • L Manufacturing Competitiveness
  • M Processing Technologies & Novel Materials
  • N Innovation in Services and Business Processes

Action Plans

Action Plans, which are designed to identify the actions that are required across research funding organisations to re-align the majority of competitive public research funding around the priority areas and to enhance framework conditions general for these areas to thrive, have been developed for each priority area.

A detailed Framework of Metrics and Targets, has been drawn up to measure the outputs and impact of implementation of Research Prioritisation on the 14 areas but also, more broadly, public investment in STI.

The First Progress Report on the implementation of Research Prioritisation was published on July 4th 2014 and it presents cumulative progress of Research Prioritisation from its inception up to the end of Quarter 1 2014. It records progress in implementation of actions across the 14 Action Plans, the Framework of Metrics and Targets, the 13 Systemic Recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficacy of the STI system and also includes pieces on Research for Knowledge, Research for Policy and Education and Skills. It was assembled by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, with input from the relevant Departments and research funders.

A Research Prioritisation Action Group with membership drawn from six Government Departments and ten State Agencies responsible for funding research and innovation, drives continued implementation of research prioritization.

In 2016 the Research Prioritisation Action Group was merged into the Innovation 2020 Implementation Group. The remaining actions on the Research Prioritisation Actions Plans were incorporated into Innovation 2020 and progress is being reported under the Innovation 2020 Progress Reports.

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