Brussels, 05 Nov 2004
The Irish Minister for Enterprise, Micheál Martin, has commissioned two reports to help the government achieve its target of increased private and public investment in research and development (R&D).
The Minister also warned Irish industry that an insufficient number of businesses are conducting research. Even those that do have R&D programmes do not do enough, said Mr Martin.
'If we really want to be a world-class economy and generate the resources to support the level and quality of services we aspire to, below average research spending isn't good enough,' said Mr Martin in a speech at University College Dublin.
Mr Martin requested that a funders' group, regrouping representatives from the main agencies with research programmes, be set up urgently with the instruction of reporting to the Irish government within three months. The group would provide a response to targets set in the action plan for promoting investment in R&D by 2010, published in August.
One of the plan's objectives is to increase business investment to 2.5 billion euro, from just over 0.9 billion euro in 2001 and to increase total R&D spending from 1.4 to 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2010. The EU average R&D spending at present is 1.9 per cent of GDP.
Mr Martin has also asked Chief Science Adviser Barry Mc Sweeney to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities facing Ireland's science, technology and innovation system.