Wednesday, 18 January 2023
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
47. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if there are plans to establish a property technology investment fund to support organisations that aim to find technology-based solutions to the housing crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1779/23]
As part of the whole of Government Housing for All plan, my Department is working to promote construction sector innovation and productivity, including through the adoption of Modern Methods of Construction (an umbrella term used to capture a range of innovative construction processes and technologies such as panelised housing or 3D volumetric/modular buildings), to help in the faster delivery of high-quality, compliant, environmentally sustainable, and more-affordable housing.
Last year, my Department together with Enterprise Ireland launched Construct Innovate, a construction specific and industry-led research and development Technology Centre. To ensure that it delivers for housing, it will be focused on key industry challenges and innovation in residential construction in its first three years of operation. Construct Innovate has initial funding of €5m over 5 years, and through the Housing for All Implementation Fund, my Department has secured an additional €0.5m in funding for the Technology Centre for 2023.
My Department has established an inter-Departmental and inter-Agency Modern Methods of Construction Leadership and Integration Group to ensure an integrated approach across a range of existing and emerging MMC relevant initiatives to maximise synergies and ensure rapid transfer of knowledge and skills to the construction sector. These initiatives include the Construct Innovate Technology Centre; the planned MMC Demonstration Park (led by SOLAS/Laois-Offaly ETB); the Build Digital project (sponsored by DPER); and Enterprise Ireland’s Built to Innovate initiative, which provides lean and digital grants and funding for research and innovation projects in the domestic residential construction sector.
Also to note, the Government established the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) in 2018 as one of four National Development Plan 2018-2027 Funds under Project Ireland 2040, aimed at encouraging collaboration and innovation in the development and deployment of disruptive technologies, which is open to all sectors of the economy, including construction.