Recognising Irish innovation and US investment
Awards will highlight outstanding research backed by US FDI taking place in Ireland
Mark Redmond of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, and Laura Mahoney of the Royal Irish Academy with an Intel Quark chip on a Galileo board, designed in Ireland. It is an example of world-class research innovation conducted in Ireland as a result of US FDI
Nominations are now being sought for the inaugural US-Ireland Research Innovation Awards. Developed by the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), the awards recognise excellence in research innovation in Ireland as a result of US foreign direct investment.
“The awards will acclaim exemplary ideas originating in Ireland which have made a social and economic impact through research innovation in meeting market needs,” says American Chamber of Commerce chief executive Mark Redmond.
The awards, which are also supported by KPMG, Ulster Bank and The Irish Times, will be presented in a number of categories including the Irish operations of a US company; an Irish SME that has links with a US company; and an Irish higher education institute or research centre that has collaborated with US companies.
According to Redmond, the awards reflect the high standard of innovation and research being carried out in Ireland.
“The awards had their genesis in the realisation that there is amazing research happening on the island of Ireland that can be attributed to US investment. There hasn’t been enough attention paid to that connection and the great groundbreaking stuff happening here. And like all of these things nothing really happens until someone thinks about it and joins up the dots.”
He says that while US companies are rightly acknowledged for their increasing research activities in Ireland, less attention is paid to their connection with innovation in third level and SMEs.
“Many of the innovations coming from these areas can be linked to the work they are doing with US multinationals. Irish research centres have been responsible for major breakthroughs in areas such as medical technologies and electronics and many of these have been supported by US multinationals. Also, FDI companies spend roughly €20 billion annually in the Irish economy and a lot of that is with Irish companies and on collaborative projects with SMEs.”
igour and independence The partnership with the RIA is a very important facet of the
awards. “The Royal Irish Academy brings rigour and independence to the judging process,” Redmond says. “It is very important to the chamber that we have an external body involved.”
“One of the RIA’s fundamental missions is to identify and encourage excellence in all areas of Irish research,” says RIA chief executive Laura Mahoney. “Through our membership and national and international networks, we will convene a panel of experts across a broad range of disciplines to ensure that all applications received are rigorously vetted and peer-reviewed to the highest international standards. We are delighted to be working with the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland to showcase the outstanding research innovation that is taking place throughout Ireland.”
According to RIA policy and international relations secretary Prof Peter Kennedy, the awards offer the academy a chance to broaden the scope of its activities.
“The scheme speaks to one of the academy’s fundamental missions by identifying and encouraging excellence in all areas of Irish research and is presented on an all-island basis. Our focus has tended to be on the academic end of research and this was seen as a great opportunity to get involved in the innovation side. Ireland has tended to celebrate its scientists and their achievements but not so much its inventors and awards like these address that.”
Kennedy believes the awards have the potential to communicate an important message. “When Americans look at Ireland many say we have jobs that should be in America. It is very important for us to be able to show that we are doing innovation in Ireland, that there is a collaborative research environment here that is good for business, and that being in Ireland adds value to US companies.”
But innovation goes beyond positive messages. “Enrico Moretti is an economist based in Berkeley and he has done an analysis of the spin-off benefits that result from investment in research,” Kennedy says. “It showed that every job created in centres of excellence for innovation generates five further jobs in other domains such as services and that these jobs are paid significantly better than others in the economy.”
KPMG managing partner Shaun Murphy also points to this direct economic benefit. “Ireland’s prosperity is very closely linked to the level and quality of innovation taking place across the island. At KPMG we support, encourage and applaud the innovation demonstrated by businesses and educational institutions in each of the award categories.”
“FDI is a key area for us and our dedicated team works closely with a range of partners, including the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy, to support the needs of US firms establishing or expanding their operations in Ireland as well as Irish companies establishing a presence in the US,” says Eddie Cullen, managing director, corporate and institutional banking at Ulster Bank.
The winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony in Dublin on May 15th. “We have commissioned specially designed awards,” says Redmond. “But the awards are about recognition. Winners will receive national and international recognition for their excellence in innovation. The awards will demonstrate the capacity of Irish firms and the third- and fourth-level higher education sector to collaborate with US companies on world class research and innovation projects.” The deadline for the receipt of applications is 5pm on Wednesday, March 11th 2015. Those wishing to apply must register their interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org