Funding for an innovation boom in Ireland was top of the agenda for the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland this morning at a major meeting of the for its RD&I network gathered in the DCU Ryan Academy. The event, which was attended by the senior representatives of many US companies in Ireland was addressed by representatives for several state agencies: Science Foundation Ireland; Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.
Speaking at the event Brian Cotter, the American Chamber's Public Affairs Director said "Last week we learned that annual spending on R&D in Ireland now exceeds €2 billion. This is welcome progress, but there is more work required by all stakeholders to ensure that Ireland achieves the target of spending 3% on R&D by 2025. Ireland needs to build a research Ecosystem that should be based on its strengths, identify shared industry-state investment projects to take on significant societal or economic challenges and achieve world class outcomes. The strategic goal for Ireland is to attract further public-private investment through proven partnerships between US FDI and Ireland's RDI system which would, within ten years.
"Research, Development & Innovation is fundamental to growing the Irish economy," according to Brian Cotter. "Increasing competition from other exporting countries and the global industry imperative to 'Innovate or Die', requires that Ireland targets RDI investment to establish global leadership niches as the primary driver of future economic and employment growth. Ireland must effectively align and scale up RDI investments. Achieving a global RDI leadership position will 'future-proof' the Irish economy against disruptive technological change and global investment competition."
Addressing the event, Feargal O'Rourke, Chairman, American Chamber of Commerce Tax Group and Incoming Managing Partner, PwC, said: PwC's 2015 CEO Pulse Survey reveals that maintaining Ireland's status as an attractive location for RDI is critical for maintaining and winning FDI. Ireland's 12.5% corporate tax rate is a fundamental part of Ireland's tax offering and brand. This tax policy is necessary but is by no means sufficient. There is more work to be done on refocusing and improving our RDI system including getting our R&D tax regime right. Further incentives will be required to encourage FDI companies to participate and lead innovation and enterprise development through to commercialisation."
Also speaking at the event, Stephen Merriman, PwC RDI Tax Director, added: "Ireland has to date been relatively successful in attracting R&D investment and has a good suite of tax instruments to encourage R&D activity. The Irish tax code needs to extend its reach beyond a traditional definition of 'research and development' to recognise new sources of knowledge capital and innovation underpinning economic growth. However the real challenge now is to evolve and align those incentives to emerging R&D business models around outsourcing, collaboration and open source research to foster a vibrant innovation ecosystem into the future and further encourage the recruitment and development of key talent."
Last month the American Chamber launched a strategic paper on RDI 'Ireland's Innovation Pathway: Attracting Investment; Driving Economic Growth' the implementation of which would support further positive increases in US FDI in Ireland over the period.