Wednesday 7 December 2016

Enterprise Ireland backs 2020 R&D target

Paul O'Donoghue

Published 09/12/2015 | 02:30

Minister for research and innovation Damien English
Minister for research and innovation Damien English

The chief executive of Enterprise Ireland has backed the Government's aim of achieving a spend of €5bn on research and development by 2020.

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But Julie Sinnamon said the target, which would see Ireland spend 2.5pc of its gross national product on R&D by 2020, would be "a stretch" to achieve.

Yesterday the Government launched Innovation 2020, which included a commitment to increase Ireland's R&D spend.

According to European statistics agency Eurostat, last year Ireland spent €2.9bn on R&D. This amounted to 1.55pc of GDP, under the EU average of 2pc. It was almost half of the target of 3pc of GDP that EU countries are aiming to hit by 2020 under one of five headline targets of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Speaking at the launch of Innovation 2020, Minister for research and innovation Damien English said the aim of 2.5pc of GNP by 2020 is achievable, and would roughly bring Ireland into line with the 3pc of GDP target. Ireland's GNP tends to be lower than its GDP due to the profits of foreign-owned companies here.

"They are achievable targets, yes they are ambitious because they have to be, we want to drive this country forward. The Taoiseach has committed us to 2.5pc [and] he has asked every department to prioritise a research and innovation agenda in their budgets."

Ms Sinnamon said: "I think it's a stretch target [but] I certainly think that it is achievable. There's no point in putting a target in place that is easily achievable, it is a global figure that is best practise [and] we have to raise our game and aim for something that is an acceptable level in other countries."

Irish Independent

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