The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has made regional development a top priority. Enterprise development, job creation and the promotion of innovation across all regions are key priorities of Government. We want all regions to realise their potential as contributors to economic recovery and growth and for regional disparities to be reduced.
My Department’s 2019 capital budget allocation of €370 million for research and innovation, an increase of €40 million, will allow us to tackle a number of priority actions in Project Ireland 2040 and Innovation 2020. Science Foundation Ireland and Enterprise Ireland will continue to leverage further EU and private sector funding for Irish research programmes.
In 2018 we requested a refresh and refocus of all regional plans to ensure their relevance and impact out to 2020. This resulted in nine new regional enterprise plans, focusing on a smaller number of strategic objectives. We intend to launch the plans at nine separate regional events shortly. The plans align with my Department’s agencies’ core activities and add value to the work the agencies are already doing, through collaborative actions.
Enterprise Ireland supports companies to improve their innovation capabilities and de-risk investment in research, development and innovation through its range of innovation support programmes, which achieve a very strong regional balance. Approximately 76% of its innovation partnership programmes and 84% of its technology gateway projects are delivered outside Dublin.
Last year, my Department announced funding of €26.75 million for Enterprise Ireland's technology gateway network five-year programme. Regionally based gateways deliver technology solutions for industry through innovative collaborative projects using a network of 15 industry gateways based in 11 institutes of technology.