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OECD back closer all-Ireland innovation

Wednesday, April 16 16:07:18

A new report from the Paris-based think-tank, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has concluded that closer economic co-operation between the two Irish jurisdictions will benefit both economically.

It highlights innovation-driven growth as a major objective of the post-crisis recovery and the opportunities that working with cross-border neighbours can offer.

The study, which comprises in-depth case studies for six European cross-border regions including Ireland-Northern Ireland, found that enhanced cross-border cooperation for innovation can lead to greater global openness, increased regional attractiveness and competitiveness.

The report identified key strengths and assets of cross-border innovation policy in Ireland and Northern Ireland, highlighting the role that InterTradeIreland plays through the development and use of cross-border intelligence and its cross-border innovation programmes. Although the report commends the broad base of joint actions in the cross-border innovation mix on the island, it also reveals some barriers and weaknesses such as the insufficient linkages of Ireland-based multinationals with SMEs on both sides of the border or the differences in university regulations and study programmes.

Recommendations from the study include adopting a more strategic use of innovation-related Interreg funds, including the involvement of InterTradeIreland. The OECD also encourages a more strategic approach to cooperation to ensure that cross-border policies and projects are in line with the strategic objectives of both jurisdictions and stronger cross-border leadership and finances from private and non-profit stakeholders.

Commenting on the report, Aidan Gough Strategy and Policy Director - InterTradeIreland said: "Over the last fifteen years, we have worked closely with the relevant departments and institutions in both jurisdictions, to promote increased cross-border cooperation in the areas of trade and innovation. The report acknowledges the importance of that work but also challenges us to keep finding better ways to promote cross-border innovation."

"Studies like this allow us to learn from international best practice and encourage us to assist in the further development and exploitation of linkages for innovation between Ireland and Northern Ireland, making both regions more globally competitive," Mr Gough concluded.