Tag Archive | "Ireland"

What Needs to Change in Ireland if we Want to be a Real Global Leader in R&D

Post written by Ian Collins, Partner at EY Ireland. Previously published on Fora.ie

The burden for small firms investing in research should be lifted.

Ireland’s tax regime already ranks among the best in class internationally and allows companies to claim significant cash refunds for their research efforts – in turn facilitating the creation of jobs and ultimately driving the economy.

The resulting cash benefits through this tax relief enables companies to increase their cash flows – something which is essential, in particular, for SMEs – and thus invest further in more research and development (R&D).

From the perspective of global multinationals operating in Ireland, the regime provides incentives for companies to bring their R&D activities here.

However, while the uptake of the R&D tax credit has grown significantly in the past decade, Ireland is still falling behind other developed countries in terms of the amount spent relative to the size of the economy – currently ranking 12th within the EU.

In tandem with this, there are likely big changes on the horizon such as Brexit, possible US tax reform and competition increasing within the EU.

It is imperative, therefore, that more must be done to ensure Ireland can continue to compete on the global R&D stage in order to become a world leader and a major hub for scientific and engineering research.

Steps to make Ireland an R&D hub

One of the key areas that must be examined is human capital. This means creating an environment where the very best, home-grown talent has incentives to stay in Ireland and move into areas of innovation and R&D, while foreign talent is also attracted to move here.

For Irish workers, this can be done by fostering the uptake of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects in schools and universities so that we develop a pipeline of R&D talent.

Meanwhile, for experienced hires and senior executives both here in Ireland and those considering moving here, our domestic income tax rates are still far too high when compared to our European competitors.

We therefore need to put in place incentives and reliefs so that we can compete as a top destination for the best talent within Europe – in particular during a time when the employment market is becoming more and more mobile.

In addition to focusing on the area of human capital, Ireland must give companies further incentives to invest in R&D so that we can climb our way up the EU investment rankings.

To move this dial, there are a number of steps that could be considered:

Foster greater collaboration between industry and academia – At the moment, the cap on R&D relief for subcontracting to universities sits at 5%, compared to 15% for third parties subcontracted to carry on R&D on a company’s behalf.

A change to equalise this cap would avoid apparent discrimination and also help to drive the government’s commitment to create greater linkages between businesses and third-level institutions.

Lessening the burden on small companies – For SMEs, any delay in the issuing of R&D refunds by the Revenue can have a detrimental impact on their ability to trade.

Therefore, it would be a welcome development for SMEs to be given the opportunity to avail of their cash refunds immediately, as opposed to the current regime which sees this take place over a three-year period.

This would serve to encourage more small businesses to engage in R&D by easing any concerns they may have on the potential impact of a delayed refund – while, at the same time, creating a cycle whereby they have incentives to inject that cash back into further R&D investment.

In addition to this, there should be a reduced administrative burden placed on SME’s to encourage greater participation.

Encouraging FDI through Ireland’s R&D tax regime – Growing Ireland’s investment in R&D cannot solely rely on spend by Irish indigenous companies, but rather we must actively sell our R&D offering to the international business community to ensure that we are attracting FDI in this space.

As such, aligning the R&D tax credit regime with R&D grant relief offered by the IDA could offer companies availing of these grants greater certainty with respect to their overall cost of doing R&D in Ireland, thus making a compelling business case to house those projects on our island.

An essential contributor

R&D activity is an essential contributor towards the ongoing prosperity of the domestic and global economy. It is therefore essential that we as a country do everything in our power to facilitate increased R&D, both amongst our Irish indigenous companies and through the attraction of FDI.

In doing so, we will be better positioned to compete with our international counterparts who are also vying for their piece of the pie.

Posted in Innovation, R&D InvestmentComments (0)

Irish wind energy industry expected to create numerous jobs by 2020

wind-energy-fieldA recently published survey of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), released at the autumn conference in Killarney, showed enormous growth opportunities in the wind energy industry in Ireland in the future. A total of 150 Irish energy companies participated in the survey, which resulted in the outcome that, by the end of the decade, 1100 new jobs could be created in this sector. This would increase the number of jobs in the wind energy sector to a total of 5500 jobs. The past three years have already shown the success of this energy sector, as 300 jobs were created on average per year.

The majority of people in this sector, about 3100, are employed at the headquarters of the energy companies. Another 1000 work in operational and engineering roles on wind farms and 300 people work in regional support offices in the whole country.

According to IWEA, another 2.5 billion Euro will be invested into the industry, in addition to the 4 billion Euro, which have already been invested.

Currently over two million households on the island of Ireland source their power from wind energy. The history of Irish wind energy dates back to 1992 when Ireland’s first commercial wind farm was established in Bellacorrick, county Mayo. Today the Republic of Ireland has 207 wind farms; the whole island has 241.

The expansion of jobs in the wind industry leads back to the plan of increasing the Irish wind capacity, by 1600 Megawatts (MV), by 2020. At the moment the Irish wind energy capacity is 3119 MV. With the capacity of currently 461MV, Cork can be seen as the “wind capital” of Ireland, followed by Kerry (315MW), Donegal (298MW), Tipperary (268MW) and Limerick (182MW).

As a clean, environmentally friendly energy source, wind energy gains more and more importance. IWEA Chairman Peter Harte declared: “Clean energy such as wind will also play a key role in reducing Ireland’s huge dependency on fossil fuel energy imports and in continuing to attract lucrative data centre developments to Ireland, along with their own significant employment opportunities”

He continued by describing it not only as “Ireland’s most competitive energy source”, but furthermore praised the economic benefits in terms of “employment, commercial rates and contributions to local communities.”

Despite the good news, the problem of skills shortage concerns more than a quarter of the companies, which is the reason why some companies also employ people from foreign countries.


written by Isabel Riedel

Posted in EnergyComments (0)

Government will work with industry to boost innovation, says Minister

The Irish Government, both north and south of the border, has indicated an intent to work together with the biopharma industry to grow talent, competitiveness and innovation across the whole island. Attendees at the Biopharma Ambition Conference were told that continued partnership between the state and industry could not only boost the Irish economy, it could also help to create an environment to discover next-generation treatments for a range of diseases.

Addressing delegates at the prestigious biopharma congress which took place across a range of Dublin locations, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “We want to help continued innovation in the industry that may lead not just to more job opportunities in Ireland but also to the development of new treatments that positively impact the lives of people all across the globe.”

This pledge to continue its fine work with industry comes at a crucial time, as the uncertainty that has flowed from the Brexit vote has the potential to impact the biopharma industry in Northern Ireland, in particular, which has the potential to double in size by 2020, generating revenues of £1.6 billion per annum. The €30 billion in exports that flows from the Irish economy could also see a further 8,000 jobs added over the next three years.

Northern Ireland Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton, told delegates: “A climate which promotes partnerships between government, academia, clinical and private sectors in Northern Ireland has been central to this growth. If we are to sustain and, indeed, build upon this success, then the same spirit of collaboration will help develop new and innovative processes which will deliver, both in terms of prosperity and public health benefits.”

The organisers of the conference, BioPharmaChem Ireland, as well as the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) and the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) have called for a focus on three factors that will greatly aid the biopharma industry in Ireland reach its potential: an emphasis on talent, growth in competitiveness and growth in health innovation.

Speaking later at the conference, Minister for Health Simon Harris commented: “This conference sends a welcome signal that the industry is committed to making Ireland a real centre of excellence for biopharma – and to continuing its pursuit of new innovations that can transform the lives of patients in Ireland and elsewhere.”

A key focus from the conference, from the perspective of everyone from regulators to the companies themselves, was growing talent. While Ireland boasts an attractive offering in terms of the educated workforce it can provide to companies, more work is still needed to ensure that young professionals joining the pharma or biotech industries are equipped with the specific skills they will need to succeed in this career.

Oliver O’Connor, Chief Executive of the Irish Pharmaceutical Association, added: “In order to grow the tangible benefits of the industry and life changing solutions we are calling on both Governments, North and South, to commit to developing the talent base across the island in order to meet future demands, grow both Ireland and Northern Ireland’s competitiveness globally, and provide greater support for clinical trials, IT investment and key specialists.”

Posted in Healthcare, Innovation, R&D InvestmentComments (0)

Enterprise Ireland to implement plans to help Irish exporters following UK decision to leave the EU

The enhancement of the UK market supports as well as the support of management and competitiveness  and the market expansion are the key measures of the implementation plans.

In a minimum of a two-years period while trade agreements are negotiated, exporters reminded. Managing potential currency exchange impacts a key priority for Irish exporters.

Enterprise Ireland has said that the UK’s vote to leave the EU will present significant new challenges for Irish companies exporting to the UK, and announced that it is immediately implementing its plans to support these companies.  Therefore itclude steps to help companies maintain their UK presence while also diversifying into other international markets.

Enterprise Ireland said that in the immediate term, the key impact on Irish exporters is likely to be around exchange rate volatility and that companies as a first step should seek financial advice relating to hedging and managing associated risks.  It also said that it would be intensifying its efforts to support companies respond to the new situation and implement medium term market diversification plans.

Enterprise Ireland outlined some of its plans to support clients including:

  1. Information and Guidance
  2. Market Diversification Supports
  3. International Sector Clustering Strategy
  4. UK In-Market Supports
  5. Competitiveness and Market Development Supports

Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon said: “The UK is a key market for Irish exporters and will continue to be one of our largest export markets. Ireland is a strong, open and competitive economy and while the result will pose challenges for Irish exporters, now that it is known, we will move forward and implement plans to help our client companies deal with the impacts.

“In addition to our team in the UK, we have put in place a dedicated email address, phone-line and team for Enterprise Ireland clients to respond to their immediate concerns and issues.

“It is worth remembering that there will be a period of at least two years while negotiations take place between the EU and the UK about the specific trade implications. Furthermore the UK Prime Minister has indicated that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will not be invoked immediately. In this period Enterprise Ireland will continue to work with our clients to help them develop a more competitive position in the UK, and also to diversify into other growth markets including the USA, Northern Europe and Asia Pacific, all of which experienced significant growth in 2015. We will be closely monitoring the situation over the coming days and responding appropriately to our client needs,” concluded Sinnamon.


Enterprise Ireland Supports

  1. Information and Guidance: Enterprise Ireland will run an information campaign including: practical guides, online information and webinars, an updated UK market access guide and regional seminars in Ireland and the UK. These will provide guidance on issues including: the implications of trading with the UK, improving competitiveness, reducing supply chain costs, accessing funding, finance, foreign exchange, employment regulations and legal issues. There is also a dedicated email address: UKExportHelp@enterprise-ireland.com; an Enterprise Ireland helpline: +353 1 727 2727 and a dedicated webpage at www.enterprise-ireland.com/UKExportHelp.
  2. Market Diversification Support: Enterprise Ireland will intensify its strategy of supporting clients to diversify into new markets. As part of this strategy, Enterprise Ireland will provide increased internationalisation supports to assist client companies to evaluate new market opportunities. It will also intensify its International Trade Mission schedule for the rest of 2016 to include trade missions to Northern Europe, USA, China, India and other high growth markets. Enterprise Ireland will also host an International Markets week in the first week of October in Ireland, to provide Irish exporters with access to its overseas market advisors.
  3. International Sector Clustering Strategy: Enterprise Ireland will expand its focus on promoting Irish sectoral cluster capabilities to international buyers in growth markets including Northern Europe, USA and Asia Pacific in key sectors such as construction, manufacturing, financial services, software, innovation, BPO and food. There will also be sectorally-focused buyer engagements in Ireland and in-market in the coming months to connect Enterprise Ireland clients to growth opportunities.
  4. UK Market Support: Enterprise Ireland’s UK team, based in London, will provide support to clients to help identify key business opportunities in the short and medium terms. They will also provide advice and support on responding to the implications such as improving competitiveness and reducing supply chain costs.
  5. Competitiveness and Market Development supports: Enterprise Ireland will intensify its work with clients exporting to the UK by providing support to improve their competitiveness in the market through its management capability and development programmes.


Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. We work in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets. In this way, we support sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment. You can find detailed information on Enterprise Ireland’s activities, strategy and performance in our Reports and Publications.

Posted in Innovation, News, R&D InvestmentComments (0)

Six of top 10 World’s Most Innovative Companies 2014 have Irish presence

Six of the top 10 companies on Forbes magazine’s list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2014 have Irish operations, with Salesforce.com coming in at No 1.

The San Francisco, California-based enterprise cloud computing applications provider, that has offices in Sandyford, Dublin, has received the recognition for the fourth year in a row now.

Forbes ranks companies on itsWorld’s Most Innovative Companies list by what it calls the companies’ ‘innovation premium’.

“(This premium is) the difference between their market capitalization and a net present value of cash flows from existing businesses (based on a proprietary formula from Credit Suisse HOLT),” Forbes states.

“The difference between them is the bonus given by equity investors on the educated hunch that the company will continue to come up with profitable new growth.”

Pharmaceuticals feature

Hot on the heels on Salesforce.com at No 2 on the list is Cheshire, Connecticut-based Alexion Pharmaceuticals. The bio-pharmaceutical company is building facilities in Dublin and Athlone.

In fifth place is bio-pharmaceutical company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Based in Tarrytown, New York, the firm is to establish a production facility in Limerick.

E-commerce giant Amazon.com, which is sixth on the list, has a development centre in Dublin.

Behind Amazon.com on the list is BioMarin Pharmaceutical, which has operations in Co Cork. Headquartered in San Rafael, California, the company develops and commercialises pharmaceuticals for serious diseases and medical conditions.

VMware is ninth on the list. The virtualisation infrastructure solutions provider is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and has offices in Dublin and Cork.

Two fully Irish companies also made it onto Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2014.

Dublin-based global healthcare supplier Perrigo is in at No 45, and global information services company Experian, also based in the Irish capital, is No 97 on the list.

Posted in Innovation, IT Research, Medical Research, News, R&D Investment, R&D NewsComments (0)

Irishman discovers third Supernova from observatory in his back garden.

An Irish amateur astronomer has achieved yet another first by discovering a previously unknown supernova from his back garden in Dublin.

Dave Grennan discovered the new ‘type 1/c’ supernova nearly two weeks ago.Its existence was confirmed by a team of professional astronomers in China and announced by the International Astronomical Union yesterday. It has been named “Supernova 2014as”.

Supernovas are the spectacularly bright remnants of a dying star, caused by the violent collapse and explosion of a Sun like our own.

According to Mr Grennan the explosion happened 170 million years ago in a galaxy over 170 quadrillion miles away called NGC 5410.

It is that distance that means the light is only reaching our planet today, he said.

Astronomers study them to try to learn more about the age of the universe and its likely final outcome, he added.

This is the third such discovery by Mr Grennan using his own observatory in his back garden in Raheny. The first came four years ago when Mr Grennan became the first person to discover a supernova here. Two years later he found another.

Posted in News, R&D NewsComments (0)


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