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What We Do

Investment in Innovation, Research and Development

Investment in innovation, research and development is an essential component of supporting an innovative and enterprising economy. It assists in creating and maintaining high-value jobs and attracts and develops business and talented people.

Investment is based on a dual approach. Firstly, investing in people, infrastructure and associated facilities to build the science base and secondly, direct support to the enterprise sector to build their capacity for research and development.

In parallel, Ireland’s strong IP regime is a key element in encouraging innovation and maintaining Ireland’s competitiveness.

The Irish Government invested just over €739 million in 2017 to stimulate research and development, the majority of which (51.5%) was funded through the Department and its agencies. The aim of this investment in research and innovation is to foster and embed a world class innovation system that underpins enterprise development and builds national competitive advantage across the economy.

Innovation, research and development policies

The Department is driving a number of policies and initiatives to translate this research investment into viable business ideas and ultimately jobs.

Research prioritisation aligns the majority of competitive research funding with 14 priority research areas, as well as underpinning technologies and infrastructure, over a five-year period to the end of 2023.

Ongoing implementation of research prioritisation is seeing more targeted investment in research and innovation, which will further enhance the effectiveness and impact of our research investment to deliver high quality, sustainable employment.

Initiatives, such as Knowledge Transfer Ireland, make it easier for companies to access the wealth of technology, skills and 'know how' available in Ireland’s higher education system. Their online RD&I Funding Tool helps you to find the right support or incentives available to you when engaging with public research in Ireland.

In addition the National IP Protocol 2019 aims to deliver a simpler and very practical guide for anyone engaging in the process of knowledge or technology transfer, with some practical additions to speed up negotiation between industry and research performing organisations.

Together these measures will deliver benefits for enterprise, benefits for the research system and benefits for Ireland in terms of enhancing our export potential, our attraction as a location for FDI and creating sustainable, high quality jobs.

Research funding agencies and programmes

In implementing the research and innovation policy agenda, the Department works with, and funds, in whole or in part, a number of agencies and programmes, namely Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, IDA Ireland, InterTrade Ireland and the Higher Education Authority (who administer the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions).