Ireland rises to ninth place in EU innovation scoreboard

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7 May 2015 | 0

Ireland has moved up one place to eigth position in the 2015 Innovation Union Scoreboard of the 28 EU member states. This is the third consecutive year of progress, having been rated 10th in 2013 and ninth in 2015.

The scoreboard was topped by Sweden, followed by Denmark, Finland and Germany, who were categorised as ‘innovation leaders’. Ireland, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovenia and the UK, were categorised as ‘innovation followers’.

Of the eight dimensions on the scoreboard, Ireland ranked first in two of them: innovators and economic effects.

The innovators dimension measures how active firms are in developing new products, marketing and creating jobs out of them. The economic effects dimension encompasses the ability of companies to generate revenue and exports.

Overall, the level of innovation declined as reflected in a drop-off in patent applications, export of high-tech products, venture capital investments and sales.

Ireland has traditionally performed well in areas such as ICT and research fellowships and researcher mobility. In these areas, Ireland’s researchers have been awarded over €24 million and €13 million respectively through the Horizon 2020 programme.

Among the Irish Universities, NUI Galway has attracted the highest Horizon 2020 funding. One of its projects involves Irish SME Sports Surgery Clinic Dublin, which is collaborating with the University on a clinical trial using adult stem cells to treat knee osteoarthritis. The project, co-ordinated by Prof Frank Barry of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, has received almost €6 million in funding and trials are expected to be underway across Europe by the end of this year.

Another multi-million euro clinical trial in the area of diabetic complications is being led by Prof Tim O’Brien of REMEDI and Curam at NUI Galway. Galway-based Orbsen Therapeutics, a spin-out from NUI Galway will play a key role in the project which will include partners in Northern Ireland and across Europe.

In both cases Dublin SME Pintail will ensure effective collaboration between the partners and support the management and delivery of the funded projects.

Dr Imelda Lambkin, National Director for Horizon 2020, Enterprise Ireland said: “The Irish approach is to provide hands on assistance to our Horizon 2020 applicants – this level of support, building on national research and innovation investments, is paying off. Ireland’s researchers and companies are responding and showing that they can compete with the best internationally.”

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