Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (106, 107, 108)

Bernard J. Durkan


105 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of jobs created through the use of modern technology and innovation in each of the past 12 months to date in 2012; the number of jobs lost in this sector in the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4410/12]

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Bernard J. Durkan


106 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which Irish firms have accessed and benefitted from innovation and technology assistance directly or indirectly on a monthly basis in each of the past two years to date in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4411/12]

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Bernard J. Durkan


108 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which job creation opportunities through innovation and technology have been identified throughout the various employment creative sectors; the extent to which these opportunities are likely to be realised in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4413/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 105, 106 and 108 together.

The Government is determined to address the jobs crisis in a real way. If we are to create the numbers of jobs we need we must build aggressively on the major strengths we have. We recognise that indigenous Irish companies have the potential to significantly increase their trade, in particular their exports, and become real indigenous engines of growth. We have in Ireland a foreign multinational sector that has served us well and we will continue to encourage world leading companies to locate pioneering parts of their businesses here. We must seek to attract international entrepreneurs to start new businesses in Ireland. We are striving to ensure that the companies located in Ireland can lead the world in vital processes that add value and create employment. Ireland's open economy needs to have the export of goods and services at the heart of its economic strategy. As Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, I have set-out an approach which is focused on economic recovery, by delivering improvements in competitiveness, ensuring companies have access to the finance they need to grow and by prioritising innovation as a key driver of success which will lead to jobs and export growth.

In this endeavour, my Department and the relevant State Agencies under its remit, have a clear and steady focus on the potential and opportunities that exist and can be created. Enterprise development Agencies, Enterprise Ireland, IDA and Science Foundation Ireland, provide a spectrum of innovation and technology development programmes, that deliver financial, technical and experiential support to help companies become more innovative, encourage and support competitiveness, and help them grow their sales and exports in order to create a climate in which sustainable employment will grow and expand. It is my view that Innovation and the use of technology will be among the core drivers of job creation in Ireland's key sectors during 2012 and into the coming years.

The detailed information which you have requested is not available but I can provide information which will give you a snapshot of the present situation and provide an appreciation of the grave situation and the challenges we, as a Government, face in achieving a turn around.

Total employment (full and part time) in Enterprise Ireland client companies stood at 162,692 in 2011. Of these, 141,228 are full-time jobs — a similar number to last year while 21,464 are part-time/contract jobs — a slight increase on last year. During the year 9,076 full-time jobs were created by EI client companies while 9,070 were lost. A gain in part-time/contract jobs of 2,012 was made in 2011 over 2010. Employment in client companies of Enterprise Ireland therefore stabilised during the year 2011.

IDA investment is a key stimulator and driver of the economy through its contribution to exchequer finances, exports and R&D. In making his 2011 end of year statement, the Chief Executive Officer of IDA Ireland announced that IDA Ireland's client companies created over 13,000 new jobs, up 20% on the previous year's level of 10,897, increasing the total number of those employed directly in companies supported by the agency to almost 146,000. Overall there was a net employment increase of over 6,000. In line with its revised strategy "Horizon 2020" IDA is charged with creating 62,000 direct new jobs by 2014. This stretch target requires IDA to grow job creation from 10,000 in 2010 to 17,000 per annum while reducing job losses through transformation. The total impact from this new jobs creation will be 105,000 jobs by 2014 due to the multiplier effect of FDI jobs. In overall terms IDA and Enterprise Ireland client companies directly accounted for the employment of approximately 300,000 people in the Irish economy. These companies also supported an estimated additional 300,000 indirect jobs.

Science Foundation Ireland supports initiatives to make available new scientific knowledge, increased commercial opportunities, and a larger pool of available talent to the Irish workforce — all of which can assist the effort to achieve efficiency and competitiveness gains across various sectors of Ireland's economy. The number of SFI researcher collaborations with industry in Ireland is in excess of 530 companies. These companies employ over 82,000 people in Ireland and through their connectivity with SFI funded researchers, the companies can avail of new ideas, processes and products to enhance their respective operations.

The extent to which companies access and benefit from Innovation and Technology programmes may be seen from the following — Enterprise Ireland has a range of programmes and soft supports focusing on innovation which will support businesses to compete sustainably in international markets. The following were among the supports accessed by businesses over 2010 and 2011:

173 new High Potential Start-Up Companies supported.

166 client companies were approved financial support in excess of €100,000 for significant R&D projects.

More than 730 EI client companies undertook R&D projects in excess of €100k in 2011.

Close to €65m in International Research Funding secured for companies.

Over 1,000 Innovation Vouchers redeemed by small companies to carry out specific company related research.

More than 100 licences transferred to industry from research which will be the basis for new developments and opportunities.

A total of 225 companies were supported to undertake Lean projects to increase productivity, drive down costs and introduce continuous process improvements in their business.

In excess of 500 Managers participated on long-course development programmes.

137 companies were involved in Technology Centres at end-2011 which facilitates collaborative research on an industry led agenda.

Research, Development and Innovation plays a strategic role as part of Ireland's FDI landscape, embedding existing employment and setting the groundwork for increased future employment. In 2011, IDA highlights of the impact of IDA Investment included—

Over 13,000 new jobs created, up 20% on 2010.

A record total of 148 investments won, up 17% on the previous year.

Circa €700 million in new R&D investment.

61 new companies investing in Ireland for the first time, up 30% on 2010.

IDA client companies spend €19 billion in the Irish economy.

IDA client companies paid €6.9 billion in payroll.

Of the 148 FDI investments made in 2011, a record number of 61 were from multinational companies investing in Ireland for the first time while 87 were made by existing client companies. Of existing client investments, 46 were expansions while 41 were in research and development.

The remit of Science Foundation Ireland covers the specific areas of Biotechnology, Information and Communications Technology and Sustainable Energy/Energy Efficiency Technology. SFI investments have had the following impacts—

Over the past decade SFI has built a community of approx. 3000 researchers in Ireland's higher education institutes, led by 300 lead scientists.

Having built a solid research base SFI has constructed 28 large, industry-connected centres, where companies partner with SFI research groups to pursue industrially relevant research.

245 SMEs and 237 multinationals now link to SFI research groups, ranging from informal connections to collaborations that involve significant financial sponsorship. The goal of these relationships is to make those companies more competitive via transferring technology and trained people out of the labs and into the companies.

As regards the future I intend to bring about a step change in public investment in research and innovation. The Steering Group on research prioritisation, led by Jim O'Hara, recommended 14 areas of application which should receive the major part of public investment in research because of the potential of these areas to deliver jobs. I am bringing forward proposals to Government imminently to give effect to the recommendations of the Steering Group and focus research funders' programmes accordingly. I will also be publishing the report of the Steering Group so that the evidence and analysis underpinning the recommendations is available to all stakeholders.

The Government will shortly be publishing its 2012 Action Plan for Jobs which will highlight the importance of innovation to enterprise growth and job creation. The Action Plan will also identify a number of sectors where Ireland has strengths and can gain a competitive edge and will set out a series of clear actionable measures to maximise job opportunities in those sectors. I am currently finalising the Action Plan for Approval by Government.

Question No. 107 answered with Question No. 22.
Question No. 108 answered with Question No. 105.