Future Jobs Ireland launches with €100m disruptive tech fund

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Ministers launch initiative to help Irish businesses cope with digital change

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5 July 2019 | 0

Ministers have launched the Future Jobs Ireland initiative with a €100 million disruptive technologies fund, aimed at helping Irish organisations cope with digital change.

Pillar 1 of Future Jobs Ireland was launched at the University of Limerick by Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Paschal Donohoe, TD, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, and Patrick O’Donovan, TD, Minister of State for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform.

Positioining Ireland
Pillar 1 will focus on “positioning Ireland as a leader in innovation and technology adoption,” said the launch statement.

Also announced was a €100 million fund to be made available under the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund for 3-year projects to 2022. It is described as one of the first funds of its type in the world that will, according to Minister Humphreys, ensure that “Ireland can stay ahead of the game”.

“We are currently experiencing a technological revolution, which will have a profound impact on our world for decades to come, and we need to keep up to speed,” said Minister Humphreys.

“Technological change is already impacting on several sectors, such as manufacturing, finance, retail and transport. Taking the workforce as an example, according to a recent study by the OECD, Irish workers face a 46% chance that their job will be automated by the 2030s. This presents challenges but also new possibilities – certain job roles will disappear or be redefined, and brand-new job roles will appear requiring new and different skillsets. Against this backdrop, it’s crucial that we position Ireland to respond to changes ahead.

“The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is a key part of our efforts to prepare now for tomorrow’s world. The successful projects will be rooted in collaboration between industry and academia, with a clear focus on commercialisation. Crucially, they will have a transformative impact on how we work or live.”

Competitive fund

The fund is competitive and will be assessed by an independent international panel of experts. It is expected to drive enterprise collaborations involving firms of all sizes including a requirement for at least one SME in every consortium. It also encourages collaboration with Ireland’s world-class research base including universities and colleges.

A statement on the launch said €75 million was allocated to 27 ground-breaking projects under the first round of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund following 300 expressions of interest. Successful projects covered areas such as household electricity generation, sepsis treatments, coastal flooding supports and medical 3D printing.

It continued that projects must be geared towards commercialisation and are required to align with Ireland’s Research Priority Areas of ICT; Health and Wellbeing; Food; Energy; Climate Action and Sustainability; Manufacturing and Materials; and Business Services and Processes.

“The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund,” said Minister Donohoe, “will provide opportunities for our most dynamic companies to translate their research into a commercial reality by working in partnership with Higher Education Institutions. Ireland needs to maintain its position as a technological leader in a modern, global economy. The investment that I and the Government have made available through this initiative for co-funded projects will help us to achieve that objective in the coming years.”

DTIF

The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) is a Project Ireland 2040 fund, operated through the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. The Fund has a resource allocation of €0.5bn over the period 2018-2027 consisting of an initial Exchequer allocation of €180 million to 2022.

Future Jobs Ireland

Future Jobs Ireland initiative incorporates five pillars:

1.         Embracing
innovation and technological change – This includes supports, policies and
initiatives that promote and enable RD&I among enterprise; encourage
digitalisation; and support the development and adoption of technology.

2.         Improving SME
productivity – This includes supports, policies and initiatives that enhance
productivity, especially among SMEs; promote indigenous entrepreneurship,
especially in the regions; encourage clustering and stronger links between
domestic and foreign owned firms; and assist businesses to move up the value
chain.

3.         Enhancing
skills and developing and attracting talent – This includes supports, policies
and initiatives that enhance Ireland’s human capital offering, including in
areas such as ICT and management skills; develop Irelands’ vocational and third
level institutions; improve Lifelong Learning rates, and ETB initiatives that
enable disadvantaged groups to return to the workforce.

4.         Increasing
participation in the labour force – this includes supports, policies or
initiatives focused on improving labour market participation, especially among
young people, older workers, women and people with disabilities; improving the
supply and cost of childcare; enabling more flexible working arrangements; and
streamlining immigration procedures.

5.         Transitioning
to a low carbon economy – this includes supports, policies or initiatives aimed
at expanding renewable energy generation; retrofitting of buildings to improve
energy efficiency; roll-out of electric vehicles; and enterprise / employment
opportunities in the green/circular/bio economy.

Each Pillar sets high level targets for 2025. Overall, Future Jobs Ireland 2019 includes 26 meaningful and impactful ambitions supported by 127 deliverables for completion in 2019.

The DTIF is a deliverable under Pillar 1 of Future Jobs Ireland.

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