Digital research centre to get €17.5m in funding

NDRC-backed ventures to create another 50 jobs by the end of the year

The National Digital Research Centre is getting an additional €17.5 million in investment from the Government as the organisation continues to support new ventures in Ireland.

Publishing its annual report this morning, the organisation said a further 50 jobs are expected to be created at NDRC-backed ventures by the end of the year, adding to the 250 that have already been created in the past five years.

NDRC runs a number of programmes to support businesses and entrepreneurs, including VentureLab, which is a science and technology accelerator aimed at commercialising research; digital accelerator LaunchPad; and SandBox, which is aimed at supporting emerging ventures. The organisation is also piloting a games accelerator specifically targeting independent developers.

NDRC chief executive Ben Hurley said the jobs created at it ventures had a "positive ripple effect" on the economy.


“The immediate apparent impact on the economy might be counted at 250 jobs but when ripple impacts of digital jobs are considered, the true impact on the economy in terms of job numbers can be up to 4.3 times the net digital jobs created or over 1,050 jobs,” he said.

Its annual report revealed the market value of the projects it backed rose by more than 100 per cent, to €39 million, in 2012 and is predicted to top €91 million by the end of 2012.

Meanwhile the total cumulative follow-on investment in NDRC ventures almost trebled in 2012, reaching €16 million, and is expected to double to €32 million in 2013.

These NDRC-backed ventures have attracted over €16 million in follow-on investment, allowing them to grow further and create jobs.

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte said the Government was "staunchly committed" to investing in the knowledge economy.

“It is essential for the country’s recovery that home-grown ideas are nurtured to such point that they can flourish in their native environment and contribute to sustainable growth, “ he said. “I am greatly encouraged that in the five years since its inception, NDRC has put down strong roots of its own to consolidate its position within Ireland’s innovation ecosystem.”

Among the NDRC's success stories are music discovery platform Soundwave, online health platform Silvercloud Health and cloud software company LogEntries.

Mr Hurley said the organisation is now recognised as an early stage investor that can help create high-impact ventures and, in the process, help boost the Irish digital economy.

“We continue to go from strength to strength with our innovative spin outs receiving record levels of investment and creating jobs in the process,” he said. “All in all, these results confirm that the ambitious experiment to position Ireland as a significant player in the internationally competitive arena of digital technology commercialisation has succeeded.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist