During the VRWI council meeting of September 23rd 2010, dr. Martin Lyes, Divisional Manager for the Research and Innovation Business Unit within Enterprise Ireland, gave a presentation on the Irish research and innovation policy. The Ambassador of Ireland to Belgium, Tom Hanney, made this meeting possible was present as well.
Martin Lyes started his presentation with a brief historical review of the Irish research and innovation system, and he framed it in the current crisis which has mercilessly hit Ireland as well. He talked about the Science Foundation Ireland with their focus on the strategic areas ICT and biotechnology, and about Enterprise Ireland which holds a key role in ensuring an economic return from the investment in research.
Furthermore, he quoted three key government strategies that are driving innovation:
- Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2006-2013
- Building Ireland's Smart Economy - A Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal, 2008
- Report of the Innovation Taskforce, 2010
The key goals of these strategies for Enterprise Ireland include:
- Stronger & faster growing High Potential Start-ups
- Better R&D and innovation in industry
- Closer collaboration between industry and colleges
- Better economic return from research
Finally, Martin Lyes quoted some elements that have worked in the Irish innovation system:
- There is strong political support for innovation
- There is a well managed interagency collaboration that is reinforced by oversight
- There is a focus on the needs of industry
- Reducing budgets has lead to innovative apporaches to programme management
- Policy is driven by appropriate metrics
After the presentation, the council members engaged in an interesting Q&A session with Martin Lyes. Later on the council meeting, VRWI advisory report 141 for a Flemish position on the European Eighth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (EU FP8) was approved. The VRWI will consult on further actions with Ireland.