Thursday, 31 May 2018
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Research and Development Funding
118. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the increased investment in research and development as outlined in budget 2018; the amount of the €5 million allocation that has been spent; the projects on which it has been spent; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24214/18]
Innovation 2020, our national strategy for research and development, science and technology lays out our vision for Ireland to become a global innovation leader. Key to that is a commitment to increase public and private investment in research. The announcement in Budget 2018 of an additional €5m in investment in the R&D sphere is evidence of the Government’s commitment to that strategy. Specifically, this additional funding will be targeted at further developing the network of Research Centres, building critical mass and addressing enterprise needs and expanding Ireland’s participation in International Research Organisations.
Budget 2018 included an allocation of €4.25m to develop a new SFI research centre – the SFI FutureMilk Centre – in 2018. The new Research Centre will be led by Teagasc, in partnership with the Tyndall National Institute and universities and institutes of technology throughout the country. A total of €13.5m in funding has been committed by 46 industry partners to the new Centre. This new Centre will be an agent of growth for the Irish dairy industry by being a world leader in research for precision pasture-based dairying. Since the Budget announcement, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has joined Science Foundation Ireland to co-fund the Centre. The Research Centre will be launched and funding drawdown will commence later in 2018.
In addition, as part of Budget 2018 Ireland committed to join the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in 2018. Negotiations were entered into in October 2017, Ireland’s formal application is currently being set before the ESO Council. As we intend to join ESO in the final quarter of this year, from October 2018, our total contribution for 2018 is €0.75m. This includes the annual contribution on a pro rata basis.
The benefits of membership of ESO are significant and include the creation of advanced enterprise relevant skills in areas such as data analytics, software and photonics.