Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, together with Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform and Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, today held a flagship event on the impact of technological change on Irish businesses.
At the event, they launched Pillar 1 of the new whole-of-Government plan, Future Jobs Ireland, which focuses on positioning Ireland as a leader in innovation and technology adoption.
They also announced that another €100m was being made available under the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund for 3-year projects to 2022. It is one of the first funds of its type in the world and a key driver of Pillar 1 of Future Jobs Ireland.
The Fund is competitive and will be assessed by an independent international panel of experts. It will drive enterprise collaborations involving firms of all sizes including a requirement for at least one SME in every consortium. It also encourages collaboration with Ireland’s world-class research base including universities and colleges.
At today's event, €75m was allocated to 27 ground-breaking projects under the first round of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund following 300 expressions of interest. Successful projects covered areas like household electricity generation, sepsis treatments, coastal flooding supports and medical 3D printing.
Projects must be geared towards commercialisation and are required to align with Ireland’s Research Priority Areas of ICT; Health and Wellbeing; Food; Energy; Climate Action and Sustainability; Manufacturing and Materials; and Business Services and Processes.
Taking the workforce as an example, according to a recent study by the OECD, Irish workers face a 46% chance that their job will be automated by the 2030s. This presents challenges but also new possibilities - certain job roles will disappear or be redefined, and brand-new job roles will appear requiring new and different skillsets.
Speaking today, Minister Donohoe said, "The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund will provide opportunities for our most dynamic companies to translate their research into a commercial reality by working in partnership with Higher Education Institutions. Ireland needs to maintain its position as a technological leader in a modern, global economy. The investment that I and the Government have made available through this initiative for co-funded projects will help us to achieve that objective in the coming years."