Thursday, 31 January 2019

Ceisteanna (124)

Bernard Durkan


124. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which she can continue to assist business and enterprise throughout County Kildare using the medium of innovation and technology to enhance business development opportunities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4926/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Regional development is a key priority of mine and I am focused on maintaining existing jobs while also increasing the level of employment and investment in every county in Ireland.  Innovation is a critical element of regional economic sustainability and in order to grow regional firms must be enabled to achieve sales outside their region.

All of Enterprise Ireland’s Research Development and Innovation supports, (Innovation Vouchers/Partnerships Technology Centres/Gateways, Campus Incubators, SME Instrument), are open to all counties in Ireland including County Kildare.  For instance, NUI Maynooth performs research as part of a number of Technology Centres, including IMR, Food for Health Ireland and Microelectronic Circuits Centre Ireland (MCCI).

Innovation Value Institute (IVI) based in NUI Maynooth researches, develops and disseminates empirically proven and industry validated IT best practice through a unique open collaboration between leading academic and industry practitioners

There are 29 IDA supported client companies in County Kildare, which collectively employ 8,838 people - representing an increase of 4.5% over the previous year. The County has a strong contingent of overseas firms in the Technology, Financial Services and Pharmaceuticals sectors.  IDA clients such as Intel, Pfizer, and Procter and Gamble are all located in Kildare and continue to perform well.  

The IDA's efforts to increase FDI in Kildare is strengthened by the presence of NUI Maynooth in the County. The University has been involved in a number of research projects with IDA client companies and has seven research institutes on campus. These include the Hamilton Institute - a world leading research unit in ICT with a focus on drones, AI and robotics - and the Innovation Value Institute which has been co-developed with Intel.

I very much welcome INIT’s recent decision to locate their first operation outside of Germany in Kildare. In November 2018, the firm announced their plans to create a software development centre in Maynooth which will result in the creation of an additional 20 highly skilled jobs. This high-calibre investment reflects Kildare's significant potential and we will be working hard to attract further investment from overseas firms to the County.   

In addition, in 2018 Science Foundation Ireland approved grants of €3,716,400 in NUI Maynooth across a number of initiatives including the President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Programme and the Research Infrastructure Programme.