In July 2011, the Government approved arrangements, whereby Enterprise Ireland supports the Defence Forces capability development, by raising the awareness of, and engaging with, Irish-based enterprise and research institutes, including third level colleges that are engaged in relevant and related activities. This Defence Enterprise Initiative is achieved through the Defence Enterprise Committee overseen by the Defence Enterprise Co-ordination Committee. These committees comprise of personnel from the Department of Defence, the Defence Forces and Enterprise Ireland. All proposals are vetted and agreed by the Defence Enterprise Committee to ensure compatibility with the roles assigned to the Defence Forces by the Government and where collaboration with industry/ third-level institutes will support Defence Forces capabilities.
The Defence Forces, in turn, support Irish enterprise and research institutes, including third level colleges, through the provision of resources and expertise to areas of new technology or research, which have the potential to contribute to the development and enhancement of Defence Forces crisis management capabilities. Under this initiative, the Defence Forces are currently supporting a range of projects that cover research, training and innovation with Irish indigenous companies and Research Institutes.
In accordance with the Government approval, the primary focus of these engagements was in relation to projects under the European Defence Agency and civilian or dual-use security type projects under Horizon 2020.
Under the 2015 White Paper on Defence, three projects were launched in relation to the Defence enterprise and innovation. The establishment of the Security and Defence Enterprise Group forms part of these projects. A joint Civil Military Project Team has been established to progress these projects as part of an overall programme. A number of the essential building blocks have been put in place to support this project and the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces are now engaging with the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation and with Enterprise Ireland in relation to best approach for engagement with industry and research institutes which includes the establishment of the Security and Defence Enterprise Group.