Irish government prioritises technology transfer in higher education

June 9, 2006

Brussels, 08 Jun 2006

The Irish government has announced the creation of a EUR 30 million fund to improve technology transfer between higher education institutions and the private sector.

The fund aims to support the rapid development of technology transfer offices within higher education institutions that have a significant flow of research funds. Among those targeted are universities with affiliated hospitals, which are carrying out significant levels of research. Under the new scheme, they will be encouraged to develop proposals to facilitate effective and active technology transfer out of the hospital research base and into industry in Ireland.

Making the announcement on 31 May, Irish Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin, said that the fund would have a 'major impact' on the development of Ireland's skill base and would be essential to driving the economy forward. 'It also has the potential to make a more direct economic impact through the commercialisation of research results that have real market potential,' he said.

However, such economic returns from commercialised research could only be achieved, Mr Martin went on to say, if new technology is transferred effectively from the higher education sector to industry, either through the creation of new start-up companies or through the introduction of new products and processes into existing industry.

'Technology transfer must become the expected 'third stream' of legitimate activity for researchers across the innovation system and the higher education institutes themselves. This will require a radical change in systems, procedures, culture and skills,' said Mr Martin.

Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government's state agency for development, will be responsible for administering the fund and providing a link between the selected higher institutions, industry and existing technology transfer offices. 'We will use our position to capitalise on our close relationships to the industrial, service and international sectors to add significant value and leverage to the Technology Transfer offices,' said Frank Ryan, Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland.

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2006
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