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 last week 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:
Dundalk Institute of Technology
Letterkenny Institute of Technology
Tralee Institute of Technology
Sligo Institute of Technology
Speaking last Friday, Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh said, "I am extremely keen to see more regional options being opened to school leavers. There is a huge pool of talented, knowledgeable and experienced people in our enterprises and they are willing to bring on the next generation. Funding these clusters is essential to get the partnerships to bed down and create opportunities for students to plot a career path and enterprise and industry to grow."