Brussels, 16 May 2003
Irish public funding of research and development (R&D) rose by 40 per cent in 2001, according to a new report published by the national policy and advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation (Forfás).
The report provides details of funding allocated to science and technology (S&T) by nine government departments and 31 separate agencies. It finds that the total allocations to science and technology (S&T) activities in 2001 reached nearly two million euro, indicating an increase of 23 per cent compared with figures from 2000.
In relation to expenditure on research and development (R&D) in general, the report shows that the total funding of R&D in the Irish economy increased by approximately 100 million euro or 40 per cent in 2001.
Martin Cronin, chief executive at Forfás welcomed the report's findings, saying that increased public funding for R&D is key to building the research infrastructure and capability required for long-term success. However, while finding the increase in funding significant, Mr Cronin underlined the importance of looking at the bigger picture.
'Investment in Ireland is still below that of our competitors [...]. The challenge then will be to maintain these levels so that our research base can continue to strengthen,' he said.
One way in which such levels of public investment could be maintained is by giving the science foundation of Ireland (SFI) a more prominent role, complementing the funding provided by the higher education authority (HEA), suggested Mr Cronin. To read the report in full, please visit the following address: http://www.forfas.ie/publications/R+D.pd f