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Chamber welcomes Report of Taskforce on Innovation

Ireland needs to look to new areas of innovation to generate and sustain investment - American Chamber of Commerce

The American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland today welcomed the publication of the report from the Government's Innovation Taskforce, saying that it demonstrates recognition by Government that Ireland will need a step change in its programmes and policies to secure future prosperity driven by Innovation and continued inward investment.

"In today's global trading environment, intense competition means we need to look to new areas of innovation and added value to generate and sustain our economic success. Ireland needs to continue to offer something distinctive and we welcome the series of measures identified by the Taskforce which aim to make Ireland a global innovation hub which continues to attract foreign direct investment", said Mike Devane, head of the American Chamber Research & Development group.

The American Chamber's ‘Retuning the Growth Engine' paper identified collaboration as critical to driving the commercialization of Research in Ireland.  The Chamber believes that without the engagement of the FDI base, research activities and programmes in Ireland will not generate enterprise to sufficiently address the economy's employment ambitions. We very much welcome the recommendations of the Taskforce in this regard. Creating a collaborative culture where multinational companies, indigenous companies, government and the education sector work together to drive innovation and create new enterprise will ultimately yield a greater return on investment for the benefit of our economy.

The Government is itself well positioned to be a driver of innovation in this country, utilising state assets and resources.  As it seeks to reform and deliver efficiencies in the public sector it can acquire innovative processes and expertise from companies and thereby help to create a world class reference site for marketing this innovation abroad.

Investing 3% of GDP in research and development is a minimum requirement if Ireland is to bring the vision outlined in the Innovation Taskforce Report to reality. But the outputs of this significant investment must be measured and must be realized for the benefit of the country of Ireland rather than for individual universities or organizations.  The American Chamber believes the underlying objective of this investment should be to evolve the country into a vital global research and commercialisation hub where innovation is our trademark. This, together with a ‘can do' attitude will make a real and lasting contribution to the economy by generating value, wealth and exports.

Mr. Devane said; "Most importantly, the Taskforce recognizes the need to consolidate and retain existing investment while seeking new mandates.  In this regard it is important to continue to attract large capital intensive projects in manufacturing where research and innovation are an integral part of excellence in advance manufacturing. Ireland must continue to address its competitiveness issues.  For Innovation to grow - whether from the existing base of companies or from new investment we must have an economy which can compete on a cost basis with other locations".

The American Chamber of Commerce looks forward to engaging with the Taoiseach and his department on the successful implementation of the Innovation Taskforce Recommendations.  The implementation of the recommendations of the Innovation Taskforce requires vision and leadership and will demand that we take bold steps to invest in the future.  This requires firm commitment and leadership from the Government together with significant effort on the part of industry and buy-in from all stakeholders.

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