Twelve successful applicants representing academic institutions from across all regions have secured funding for their projects.
Speaking ahead of a special cabinet meeting on jobs in Trim, Co Meath, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD and Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD have announced the results of the Regional Technology Clustering Fund, the first annual competitive fund of its kind.
The €4.6 million fund provides a platform for engagement between enterprise and regionally based academic institutions – the institutes of technology (IoT) and technological universities (TU) – in order to drive productivity and competitiveness in and across the regions.
The fund aligns with the Future Jobs Ireland framework and the Regional Enterprise Plans by building on regional strengths and supporting the expansion of Irish exporting businesses.
Twelve successful applicants to the Regional Technology Clustering Fund have been selected through a rigorous evaluation process which was based on criteria including a project’s significance for innovation.
The clustering activity will enable IoTs and TUs to connect and engage with SMEs and multinational corporations in a strategic way on common areas of interest, while providing a means to increase their educational and research remit as knowledge providers in their region.
IOTs and TUs have an important role to play in helping companies to respond to the skills challenges faced by SMEs and to assist companies to enhance their capability to win business in international markets.
The projects will support and activate clustering in several sectors: furniture manufacturing, marine, connected health, Industry 4.0, construction, advanced manufacturing, cyber security, engineering, bioeconomy, medtech and agritech.
The applicants that have secured funding under the competitive fund include:
Minister Heather Humphreys TD said: “Strengthening collaboration between industry leaders and Higher Education Institutions is a key priority for government as we work to ensure we have balanced regional development.
"The funding very much complements the core ambitions of Future Jobs Ireland, which in 2020 will have clustering as a key theme. It includes projects that embrace innovation and technological change, improve SME productivity, help to build our skills base and assist with our transition to a low carbon economy.
"It is this kind of innovative funding that will ensure we remain competitive and well-placed to grow and prosper in a rapidly changing global economy.”
Jerry Moloney, regional director, Enterprise Ireland, said: “When Enterprise Ireland published its ‘Powering the Regions’ strategy earlier this year, we placed a major emphasis on attracting high quality, collaborative projects that had the potential to form successful clusters.
“This has been a competitive process that attracted many interesting project proposals from institutes of technology and technological universities nationwide.
"Our nine regional response teams are confident that the twelve successful projects announced today will go on to ignite innovation in their regions and enhance the capabilities of indigenous businesses to win business in global markets and drive the creation of cluster entities in these key sectors.”