Science policy is currently focused mainly around five core strategic areas:
- Prioritisation of public funds into areas of research that offer most potential for economic recovery and social progress following the adoption by Government of the recommendations of the Research Prioritisation Steering Group in 2012;
- Consolidation of resources in units of scale with scientific excellence,
- Increased collaboration between academia and industry; and within academia and research performing organisations;
- International collaboration, to maximise return on investment and to optimise success under EU Framework programmes, and
- Facilitating the translation of knowledge and the transfer of technology into jobs.
These policies will continue to underpin Government strategy but we are now taking the opportunity to set them in context and to be more comprehensive in the articulation of STI strategy at national level. My Department is currently developing work streams on a range of issues which are feeding into the production of a new strategy and the Interdepartmental Committee on STI has been convened to ensure that the strategy benefits from a whole of government perspective. Many of these work streams involve initiatives and studies which of themselves involve extensive stakeholder consultation. Some examples include the study into Medium Term Development of the Irish Market Focused Element of the Irish Research Centre Landscape Ecosystem; and the study into Optimising Policy Intervention to Strengthen the Impacts of Enterprise RD&I in Ireland. Similarly, the Copyright Review Group Report, the Entrepreneurship Forum Report, the IP Protocol as well as the mechanisms which Knowledge Transfer Ireland has established to elicit views of stakeholders through the Industry Advisory Board and Stakeholder Forum all involve considerable stakeholder engagement – all of which will be considered in the development of the strategy.
The views of the higher education system are a critical element in the development of our new strategy and my colleague, the Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English, T.D., is meeting with the Presidents of the Higher Education Institutes along with their VPs/Deans of Research to hear their perspectives on their interaction with the innovation eco-system. The feedback from these meetings is being considered in the context of the development of the new strategy.
As drafting of the new strategy progresses, further consultation with stakeholders will take place. I intend that the new strategy will be published in mid 2015.