I propose to take Questions Nos. 409 to 411, inclusive, together.
Project Ireland 2040 is the overarching policy and planning framework for the social, economic and cultural development of the country. Its foundation is the National Planning Framework (NPF) and it includes a detailed investment plan for the period 2018-2027.
Project Ireland 2040, in highlighting the employment challenge, has identified the likely need to create in excess of 660,000 additional jobs in the period up to 2040. Project Ireland 2040 contains 10 Strategic Outcomes, one of which is; ‘A Strong Economy, supported by Enterprise, Innovation and Skills’. The Department together with its Enterprise agencies have a key role to play in delivering this Strategic Outcome. The National Development Plan sets out the configuration for public capital investment over the period 2018-2027 to drive the implementation of Project 2040 and the National Strategic Outcomes of the NPF. Insofar as the capital funding for DBEI is concerned, the Plan commits a total of €3.16 billion for DBEI capital priority projects over the first five years of the plan out to 2022, i.e. an increase of over 28%.
The Capital funding provided to my Department is mainly in the way of grants to support the multi-annual programmes of our enterprise development and innovation agencies.
The NDP identified the following specific Business, Enterprise and Innovation Priority Investments under the “Strong Economy supported by Enterprise, Innovation and Skills” National Strategic Outcome, whose delivery is the prime responsibility of DBEI;
- Expansion of Advanced Manufacturing Supports, linking centres and capacity across all regions Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund
- Strengthened SFI Research Centres and EI Technology Centres in higher education in all regions
- Participation in EU High Performance Computing Programme
- Upgrading of the Tyndall National Institute in Cork
- New Space Technologies Programme, to the benefit of firms in the regions
- Membership of CERN
- New cycles of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions, benefiting Higher Education in all regions
- New Regional Sectoral Clusters to scale and internationalise enterprise in all regions
- New regional ‘Technology and Innovation Poles’, led through the Institutes of Technologies
- Brexit Business Transformation through firm level supports
- Expanding Enterprise Ireland budget for research and development
- Expanding IDA Regional Property Programme, to attract investment to regions
- A National Design Centre
- Seed and Venture Capital Funding to support regional start-ups and growth
- eHubs for entrepreneurship and start-ups in every county
The additional €65million in capital money provided to my Department through the 2019 Estimates has allowed it to progress a number of the DBEI priority projects further in 2019. Specifically,
- the €20m funding provided to the Disruptive Technologies Fund ensured that the funding for projects approved under the first phase of the Fund could be drawn down in 2019
- the additional €10m provided to the IDA has enabled it to continue and expand its programme of providing property solutions, strategic sites and grants to deliver FDI across the regions of the country
- the €6m provided to the Future Growth Loan Scheme, which builds upon the €17m provided to the Scheme in 2018, will assist business to access the finance necessary to enable them to strategically transform/adapt to the impact of Brexit
- the additional €2.75million in capital funding provided to EI has enabled it to progress a number of regionally focussed initiatives with Institutes of Technology through a programme of Regional Innovation and Technology Clusters to support regions across the country to build enterprise capability
- the capital funding provided to EI will has also allowed it to roll out the new €175million Seed and Venture Programme which will focus on fostering a strong pipeline of high growth innovative businesses by increasing the availability of risk capital for start-up/early stage enterprises
- the Department’s increased capital funding will ensure that Ireland can continue to expand and deepen its membership of and collaborations with international research organisations such as the European Southern Observatory and the European Space Agency
- the additional capital funding also allowed the new programmes for Postgraduate Research at Masters and PhD levels to continue to be rolled out
- the additional funding being provided to SFI has enabled it to refresh its Research Centres Programme thereby strengthening collaboration with enterprises across all regions of the country
- the additional funding being provided to the Tyndall Institute has enabled it to continue to upgrade and expand and stay at the forefront of new technologies
The capital allocation for DBEI in the first five years of the NDP to 2022 will enable us to continue the positive start to delivering on the ambition of the NPF and NDP. It is recognised that the full implementation of the Priority Investment Projects under NSO 5 will also require the allocation of substantial capital funding over the period of the Plan and DBEI and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) will work together as part of the annual estimates processes to ensure that all the aforementioned Business, Enterprise and Innovation Priority Investment Projects are fully implemented within the lifetime of the Plan to secure the desired outcomes.