Pace of tech innovation in Ireland fantastic, say Stripe founders

Collison brothers indicate ‘massive optimism for technology and science sector’ in State

The pace of tech innovation in Ireland at present is just phenomenal, the founders of the Stripe payment processing company have said.

John and Patrick Collison, speaking in Washington on Wednesday, were presented with the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) St Patrick's Day Science medal by Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

The award was also presented to Prof Donald McDonnell, associate director for translational research for the Duke Cancer Institute and Glaxo-Wellcome professor of molecular cancer biology at Duke University, School of Medicine in North Carolina, for his work in the development of new treatments for breast and prostate cancers

John Collison said they had "massive optimism" for tech, science and entrepreneurship in Ireland.

He said one of the areas about which they had spoken to the Taoiseach was education. He said they were really excited about the new immersive software programme at the University of Limerick which would see its first students in September.

Prof McDonnell said one of the themes in the talks with Mr Martin on Wednesday was how amazingly well Ireland had done in education and also in fundamental research.

He said Ireland was punching above its weight. He said some of the discoveries and some of the research centres in Ireland were “leading the way”.

He said the Conway Instutue in Dublin was one of the leading cancer bio marker institutes in the world.


He said he had left Ireland 35 years ago.

“If I was there now as a young PhD student, it would be very to leave because it is amazing what is going on,” he said.

Mr Martin said the awards were being made to the three in recognition of their “outstanding contributions to science and technology. We are deeply proud of their inspirational achievements and the societal and economic impacts they have made on the global stage. This prestigious prize recognises the critical importance of US-Ireland relations, particularly in the areas of research, development and innovation. Through these enduring transatlantic links, we are creating new opportunities and furthering knowledge with the potential to address societal needs and economic challenges, as well as nurturing future talent in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths.”

John Collison said: “Patrick and I are honoured to accept this award. With all the talent and ambition in Ireland, we are convinced that many more young people will pursue a career in technology, and we can’t wait to see what problems they will solve.

“We will continue to do our bit, including through our partnership with the University of Limerick. The overwhelmingly positive response to the immersive software engineering course – and other projects like Fast Grants and the Arc Institute – have proved that we have a long runway ahead of us in terms of the investments we will continue to make in science, in technology and in Ireland’s potential.”

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent