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Speech by the Taoiseach at the opening of NexusUCD, Wednesday, 10th July,

 

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

I'm delighted to be here today to announce the official opening of NexusUCD, the University's Industry Partnership Centre. This Centre is a further string to UCD's very impressive bow and I would like to congratulate everyone involved.

I'd also like to welcome ResMed who are locating their European research and innovation centre here and, in particular, am delighted that they intend to create up to 50 new jobs.

Afterwards I plan to get a look at the high-quality modern office space here at NexusUCD for innovation-led companies, such as ResMed.

I understand that in some respects, ResMed has come full circle, as two years ago the company acquired BiancaMed, a UCD spin-out company which was originally based at NovaUCD. So perhaps it would be more apt for me to say "Welcome back".

ResMed's establishment in Ireland and notably here in UCD really sends a strong signal of the high regard that you have for the work carried out in this academic research and development space.

Enterprise and University collaboration
As a frequent visitor to UCD I know that it already has a very impressive platform linking its R&D talent pool to enterprise which has created fantastic opportunities for leading businesses to engage with the University's research capacity.

The addition of this new centre, which will house up to 300 highly-skilled research and innovation jobs, will be a great addition to Ireland Inc.

I believe that the establishment of this new collaborative centre will be an important step in improving Ireland's ability to innovate.

This is in line with the Government's focus to encourage State and industry collaboration which is a key element in our path to economic recovery.

Action Plan for Jobs
Our Action Plan for Jobs aims to meet the demands of entrepreneurs, businesses and High Potential Start Ups, such as those who populate NexusUCD.

The measures outlined in our Action Plan are designed to support enterprise to build and innovative. We believe that this will help Ireland become more competitive and investment friendly.

An example of measures delivered under the Action Plan for Jobs is the announcement of a major new Big Data/Data Analytics Centre called INSIGHT.

INSIGHT has a cohort of 250 top-class researchers, spanning across UCD, NUI Galway and DCU, collaborating with 45 industry partners, which includes the likes of AOL, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft and the Irish Times. It is a 6 year, €80 million research project with industry providing a 30% contribution.

This year's Action Plan for Jobs also includes 7 specific "Disruptive Reforms" designed to bring key stakeholders together to help deliver big signature projects which can make a real difference in the economy.

One of the Disruptive Reforms will see Ireland establish a world-renowned National Health Innovation Hub. The Hub will drive collaboration between the health system and enterprise.

The first step has been to set up a demonstrator project based in UCC where we are working with a number of private companies on a range of products, including an electronic referral and prescription system and mattress sterilisation systems.

These are just some examples of the public private collaborations in the name of job creation and economic growth.

Investment in Science, Technology and Innovation
Overall, the Government fully recognises the importance of R&D to ensure Ireland's on-going and future economic and social well-being.

The Government's strategy is to accelerate the economic and societal return on our research investment, to further strengthen enterprise engagement and take-up of public research and to drive commercialisation.

We have undertaken a Research Prioritisation exercise which placed a significantly enhanced focus on collaborative research with enterprise and on commercialisation.

This has involved aligning the majority of competitive public research funding with 14 priority areas where we are most likely to get economic and societal returns, particularly in the form of jobs.

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through Enterprise Ireland, plays a key role in helping companies become more innovative, through a suite of flexible supports aimed at helping companies and third level researchers to innovate in commercially beneficial ways.

This involves supporting effective and flexible collaborations between companies and third-level researchers and capitalising on the research investment made by the HEA and Science Foundation Ireland, by taking commercially useful technology on to the market.

Conclusion
Collaboration between industry, government, enterprise and academia is in our view a win-win situation for both businesses and the State.

Our policy of investing in our research base has had a very positive impact on our scientific research capabilities, and it has also led to job creation.

In addition, we have climbed up the international rankings in terms of the quality of our research. Ireland is now in the top 20 countries in overall scientific global rankings and we are excelling in a range of key disciplines such as immunology, nanotechnology, materials science, genetics and genomics.

I believe that our continuing aim to maximise collaborative efforts with enterprise and to focus on commercialisation of these ideas will hold us in good stead into the future.

I look forward to seeing the fruits of this endeavour from world class collaborative research centres such as NexusUCD.

Thank you.