30/05/2006

€30m Set Aside For Education Technology Transfer

Ireland's Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin has announced the provision of a new €30m fund designed to build a stronger and more professional Technology Transfer function within Higher Education Institutions in Ireland.

The funding, which will be provided through Enterprise Ireland, will ensure better economic returns will be gained from research & development investment, through the development of better systems, procedures and expertise in Technology Transfer Offices.

Making the announcement, Minister Martin said: “Over recent years the State has committed very significant investment into Higher Education R&D through various Government Departments and State agencies. This R&D investment will have a major impact on the development of Ireland’s skill base and is essential to driving the economy forward. It also has the potential to make a more direct economic impact through the commercialisation of research results that have real market potential. This will only be achieved if new technology is transferred effectively from the higher education sector to industry, either through the creation of new start-up companies or through the introduction of new products and processes into existing industry.

“Technology transfer must become the expected '3rd stream' of legitimate activity for researchers across the innovation system and the Higher Education Institutes themselves. This will require a radical change in systems, procedures, culture and skills. Following the announcement today, higher education institutions, with significant research activity, will be invited to apply through competitive tender, for support to hire skilled people with expertise and experience, particularly industrial experience, in technology transfer, licensing and relevant aspects of business development and their associated costs. The funding will ensure that Technology Transfer Offices in research performing institutions will be strengthened to form the backbone of the national commercialisation infrastructure,” the Minister said.

Frank Ryan, CEO of Enterprise Ireland commented: “Increasing the transfer of R&D from higher education institutions to industry is a key element of Enterprise Ireland’s Strategy Transforming Irish Industry. There are already strong established relationships between Technology Transfer Offices and Enterprise Ireland. It is envisaged that Technology Transfer Offices will continue to work in partnership with Enterprise Ireland in the promotion and commercialisation of funded research and resultant technologies."

Mr Ryan said that Enterprise Ireland’s role was to support the rapid development of the technology transfer function in the colleges, to be a source of very specialist skills and to operate across colleges to bring added value to their efforts.

Hs pledged that Enterprise Ireland's position would be used to capitalise on the close relationships with the industrial, service and international sectors to "add significant value and leverage" to the Technology Transfer offices.

(SP)

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