BaileNuachtCartlann Aitheasc agus Preaseisiúintí

Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr Brian Cowen T.D., at the Official Opening of the Rubicon Centre Extension, Cork Institute of Technology Friday, 22nd October 2010 at 2.30 p.m.


Tá áthas orm cuairt a thabhairt ar Institiúid Teicneolaíochta Chorcaí inniu chun an ionad nua seo a oscailt go hoifigiúil.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your warm welcome. I would like thank CIT President, Dr Brendan Murphy and Chair of CIT's Governing Body, Dr Paddy Caffrey for the invitation to be here this afternoon.

Since opening its doors in January 2006, the Rubicon Centre has been an important catalyst in the formation and growth of early-stage, knowledge-intensive businesses.
A key focus of the Centre is on the commercialisation of research and building close relationships between researchers and enterprise. Driving and increasing such collaboration is a central element of the Government's Strategy to position Ireland as a Global Innovation Hub.
The Government first articulated this ambition in its Framework for Economic Renewal, Building Ireland's Smart Economy in 2008 and it was subsequently endorsed by the Innovation Taskforce in its Report published in March of this year.

The Government's plan for economic renewal has three pillars - correcting the public finances, reforming and restoring the banking system and building a sustainable, competitive, knowledge economy.
We have invested heavily in research, development and physical infrastructure over the past decade and will continue to invest in sectors and initiatives highlighted by the Innovation Taskforce, the High Level Group on Green Enterprise and others who have identified areas where we can develop new businesses and create jobs.

Good progress is being made on implementing those recommendations including;
- in July, we launched the fifth cycle of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions; this investment supports third level research, and is aligned with the priority areas identified by the Taskforce;
- an expert group is working to reform our Intellectual Property system, including development of a national protocol for ownership and access to State-supported IP;
- all our universities have now agreed to introduce bonus points for maths starting with the Leaving Certificate in 2012;
- additional funding in the capital programme is allowing Enterprise Ireland to increase seed and venture capital funding, and implement recommendations relating to Business Angel Funds;
- Jim O'Hara, General Manager of Intel in Ireland, is heading up a new Group that will identify priority areas where Government investment in research will be targeted;
- Enterprise Ireland will shortly be launching a new campaign to attract overseas entrepreneurs to locate Ireland; and
- new visa arrangements for students are being introduced, while further reforms of our visa system, including for foreign entrepreneurs coming to Ireland, are being developed as part of our new Trade, Tourism and Investment Strategy.
Most significantly, we have announced the €500 million Innovation Fund, which aims to attract leading international venture companies to locate Ireland.
I was delighted recently to welcome the first investments under the Fund which will see DFJ Esprit establish an international office in Dublin.
I hope to see further announcements over the coming months as we build a strong base of venture capital expertise in Ireland, as well as gaining access to international networks.
We are highlighting the importance of innovation through these initiatives, we are creating better access to venture capital, we are recognising the opportunities to create whole new industries as technologies converge, and we are linking our universities and research institutions with the business community in new and dynamic ways. Through all this we are creating the conditions for sustainable economic growth and job creation, which must now be at the core of all our national effort.

Our plans are ambitious. But we need to retain our sense of ambition for Ireland and what we can achieve and emerge from recession with a stronger and more sustainable economy than before.

We are also, of course, supporting projects which ensure Collaboration and Alliances in the Higher Education sector.

Facilities like the Rubicon Centre are an important element of our strategy for technology-intensive start-ups. You offer a supportive environment to your client companies including:
the opportunity to leverage academic R&D expertise;
business mentoring;
student placements and recruitment; and importantly
access to specialised facilities that early-stage companies could not themselves typically afford.

I know that your success in helping the entrepreneurs located here means that there is a steady demand for space.

With the opening of this extension today, the Rubicon Centre now has 50 incubation units of varying sizes, plus ancillary space such as hot-desks and meeting rooms.

This newly extended Centre will facilitate close interaction between researchers and start-up companies.

This in turn will lead to improved research collaborations with spin-in companies at the Rubicon as well as a greater level of spin-off activity.

Through Enterprise Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland, we are providing substantial support to colleges and higher level institutions all over the country to develop their research facilities and foster links with industry.

I was delighted to speak at the Science Foundation Ireland Tenth Anniversary event yesterday. This event marked the very significant progress which has been made in enhancing our international performance in R & D. At that event we heard about a range of successful scientific breakthroughs made in Ireland involving researchers based in Cork as well as collaborations between Cork based companies and researchers.

Ladies and gentlemen, innovation and economic recovery are two sides of the same coin.
I want to assure you that investing in the productive capacity of the economy and in the future of our students and entrepreneurs is a key priority for my Government.
And you only have to look at the companies located here at the Rubicon Centre to see real examples of our investment in action.



I would like to congratulate the staff and management of the Rubicon Centre and Cork Institute of Technology for the excellent and very valuable work you are doing here.

And to the entrepreneurs and client companies I would like to wish you all the very best with your business endeavours. Your successes, your excellence and your ambition show us how our country can forge ahead to a successful future.

Your efforts are all the more important now in our task of rebuilding the Irish economy and creating jobs in a very challenging global economic climate.

I now declare this new extension officially open.

Rath Dé ar bhur gcuid oibre.