Ireland as a world innovation hub

Today’s Irish Times had a report indicating that the government wants to make Ireland ‘the most attractive place for companies engaged in research and innovation’. We are told that the Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Brian Cowen, has been working on a plan with ministers and with the major government agencies dealing with economic development.

This is an entirely laudable plan, and it is the right thing to do at the current time. Even after the economic downturn has had its full impact on costs and other aspects influencing competitiveness, Ireland will still be a high cost economy in international terms, and we will not get many new investments in manufacturing and low-level services; those will go further East. Being a centre of innovation is the only realistic prospect for future growth and prosperity, and in fairness this is something that the Taoiseach himself has recognised since he was Minister for Finance.

What is perhaps missing from these preparations is active engagement with universities. Whatever plan will emerge will not be successful unless universities work closely with it, and that should mean that they are included in the discussions and the design of the plan. It is even more urgent now that universities should be seen as partners in these processes, and not just agencies for implementing them.

Explore posts in the same categories: economy, politics, university

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One Comment on “Ireland as a world innovation hub”

  1. Bruce Says:

    What was the experience with the proposed ‘digital hub’ in the Liberties? Wasn’t this an example of an Irish effort to make Ireland a magnet for world-class research? I thought of this while driving through the Coombe and Dublin 8 over the weekend, and seeing no evidence of this ambitious plan some years after its launch.

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