IRELAND aims to be a world leader in cloud computing with the help of a new €1.2m research programme.
Jobs and Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton announced the government investment into the fast-growing technology as part of its action plan for jobs yesterday.
"A key part of this Government's plan for growth and jobs is identifying areas where we believe Ireland has distinct advantages compared with other countries, and taking steps necessary to ensure that we realise our potential in those areas," said Mr Bruton.
"Cloud computing is one such sector, and the Government believes that between our climate, skills base, telecoms connectivity and existing strengths in ICT, we have the potential to reap substantial benefits in terms of jobs and growth from the global expansion of this sector."
Cloud computing allows people to store applications and software with companies in "the cloud", which can be accessed from anywhere over the internet.
The investment will be made into a technology research centre, which will bring academic researchers together and will be aimed at generating business ideas and boosting growth in the sector.
The centre will be made up of a group of higher education institutions, including researchers from University College Cork and the Athlone Institute of Technology.
Funding will be allocated over the next 12 months. Last year, industry chiefs predicted that Ireland could create up to 20,000 jobs by adopting the new technology. Microsoft Ireland managing director Paul Rellis said "the cloud" could be worth €9.5bn to the economy by 2014.