A €30m fund, to be administered by Enterprise Ireland, has been funded by the Irish government with the aim of building better technology transfer functions within the country’s higher education establishments. The aim is to achieve better economic returns from Irish R&D investment through the development of better systems, procedures and expertise within technology transfer offices.
Irish Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin TD launched the fund. He said: “Over recent years the State has committed very significant investment into higher education R&D through various government departments and State agencies. This R&D investment will have a major impact on the development of Ireland’s skill base and is essential to driving the economy forward. It also has the potential to make a more direct economic impact through the commercialisation of research results that have real market potential. This will only be achieved if new technology is transferred effectively from the higher education sector to industry, either through the creation of new start-up companies or through the introduction of new products and processes into existing industry.”
He went on to say: “Technology transfer must become the expected third stream of legitimate activity for researchers across the innovation system and the higher education institutes themselves. This will require a radical change in systems, procedures, culture and skills. Following the announcement today, higher education institutions, with significant research activity, will be invited to apply through competitive tender, for support to hire skilled people with expertise and experience, particularly industrial experience, in technology transfer, licensing and relevant aspects of business development and their associated costs.”
Frank Ryan, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, said: “There are already strong established relationships between technology transfer offices and Enterprise Ireland. Enterprise Ireland’s role will be to support the rapid development of the technology transfer function in the colleges, to be a source of very specialist skills and to operate across colleges to bring added value to their efforts.”