Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Questions (38, 47)

Áine Collins

Question:

38. Deputy Áine Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the amount in euros currently being spent on research and development as a percentage of Ireland's GDP. [33275/13]

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Áine Collins

Question:

47. Deputy Áine Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the way in which he intends to reach the required spend on research and development of 3% of GDP under Horizon 2020; and the measures being put in place to ensure that this target is reached. [33276/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 38 and 47 together.

I assume the Deputy is referring to Ireland’s research intensity target under the Europe 2020 Strategy which is to improve the conditions for research and development, in particular with the aim of raising combined public and private investment levels in this sector to 2.5% of GNP (approximately equivalent to 2.0% of GDP). The latest available data show that the research intensity rate for 2012 is estimated at 2.11% of GNP (1.71% of GDP). The estimated research intensity rate for 2013 is 2.16% of GNP (1.73% of GDP). This is encouraging against the backdrop of the economic and fiscal situation and I believe that we are on track to achieve the research intensity target by 2020. Ireland's National Reform Programme update for 2013 submitted by the Government to the European Commission in April reflects this projection.

The Government’s strategy has been to put in place a range of initiatives with the overarching aim of accelerating both the economic and societal return on our public investment in Science, Technology and Innovation. A number of initiatives are also in place designed to encourage more private investment in R&D. Specific initiatives include:

- Research Prioritisation which is being implemented on an all of Government basis targeting the majority of competitive public STI investment in the 14 areas which are most likely to deliver economic and societal returns, particularly in the form of jobs – support is also being targeted at relevant underpinning technologies as well as related infrastructure.

- An Intellectual Property Protocol is now in place which gives more clarity and certainty around ownership of IP emerging from state funded research – this will facilitate greater transfer of ideas to market. A key element of this – establishing a Central Technology Transfer Office – is in the final stages of completion.

- The remit of Science Foundation Ireland is being expanded to cover applied research, aligned with the 14 priority areas to further support the development of research findings into commercial opportunities.

- In July last year the Government agreed targets for enterprise participation in publicly funded research to drive behaviour of research funders to encourage more collaboration with enterprise.

- In late February this year the largest ever state and industry co-funded research investment in Ireland was announced – SFI’s research centres awards includes overall investment of €300million with two thirds coming from the exchequer and one third from industry (cash and in-kind support) involving over 150 industry partners in 7 centres over a 6 year period.

- The latest business expenditure figures are very encouraging showing an increase from €1.83bn in 2010 to €1.86bn in 2011 with estimates of a further increase to €2bn for 2012.