The innovation agenda: the Taskforce report

The government has just indicated that the report of the Innovation Taskforce will be launched next Thursday, March 11. For those who may not be immediately familiar with this initiative, the Innovation Taskforce was set up by the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD, in July 2009. It had been announced by the government at the time of the launch of the TCD/UCD ‘Innovation Alliance’ almost exactly a year ago in March 2009, and indeed one of its terms of reference was to consider policy measures to support this alliance. Furthermore, the Provost of TCD and the President of UCD are members of the Taskforce.

A total of 113 persons or organisations made submissions to the Taskforce, and these can be viewed here.

A comment on the Taskforce report will appear on this blog as soon as the report is published next week. The key issues we should be looking for in the report might include how we are to ensure that the Lisbon targets for R&D expenditure will be met, how the commercialisation of academic research can be encouraged without undermining scholarship, how industry-university partnerships can be secured, and how intellectual property should be protected or exploited.

It is hard to know what to expect from this initiative. The Taskforce had originally been expected to report before the end of 2009. In the meantime, support for an innovation agenda has been compromised by the increasing pace of budget cuts, which have now also had a significant effect on research funding. We shall need to see whether the launch of the report might mark the beginning of a process to arrest this disinvestment in the one activity that will be needed to pull us out of recession. More on this next week.

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2 Comments on “The innovation agenda: the Taskforce report”

  1. Vincent Says:

    It’s a bit rich having Eircom on a list of contributors to innovation when it took them ten years to get broadband to my house. I have friends living in the depths of Appalachia that had it six years ago. And I’m one of the lucky ones.

  2. Sean Says:

    Just a few comments re@ innovation
    1. it strikes me that the way in which the taskforce was put together and took so long to get this far that it has not been very innovative in itself
    2. I note that 120,000 jobs are promised to be created, surely this figure is pie in the sky and not related in any way to reality
    3. there is a lot of not joined up thinking going on in this country and as every sector protects their own self interest, we are doomed to innovation happening only in isolated pockets

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