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What We Do

Research Prioritisation

Research Prioritisation is about enhancing the relevance and impact of our public investment in research, while also maintaining the excellence of our research, further strengthening enterprise engagement and take-up of public research, and driving commercialisation of research.

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.


The report of the Research Prioritisation Steering Group recommended 14 areas of opportunity as well as underpinning technologies and infrastructure to support these priority areas which should receive the majority of competitive public investment in STI over a five year period from 2012 to the end of 2017.

The areas were identified on the basis of

  • existing strengths of the public research system,
  • existing strengths of the enterprise base,
  • opportunities that exist in terms of the global marketplace and
  • those which are most likely to deliver economic and societal impact, and of course jobs.

In 2016 the Research Prioritisation Action Group was merged into the Innovation 2020 Implementation Group. The remaining actions on the Research Prioritisation Actions Plans were incorporated into Innovation 2020 and progress is being reported under the Innovation 2020 Progress Reports.

2017 Refresh Exercise

Innovation 2020 commits to reviewing the priority areas of focus to ensure that they are still valid and to revise them, if necessary, in the light of changed circumstances. The objective was to evolve the priority areas to ensure that Ireland is favourably positioned to benefit from the global opportunities now and into the future, by responding to worldwide megatrends and global challenges that are shaping the global economy and Ireland’s place in it.

The refresh exercise examined whether there has been a significant shift in global or national societal challenges; global markets in which Irish-based companies are, or are expected to, compete; critical technologies that will impact on Ireland; and, finally, Ireland’s research strengths. The refresh exercise also recognises that Ireland’s priority areas can form part of the basis for strategic engagement by Irish-based researchers and innovators with the European Framework Programme for RDI, Horizon 2020 and its successor, Horizon Europe.

Three reports were undertaken to inform the review of priority areas:

  • a horizon scan of global markets;
  • a technology futures exercise;
  • and an audit of progress under the current priority areas.

The findings from these reports along with views elicited from stakeholders representing academia, enterprise and the public sector at a Consultation Forum in November 2017, have informed the refreshed priority areas as set out below:

  • ICT
    • Future Networks, Communications and Internet of Things
    • Data Analytics, Management, Security, Privacy, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (including Machine Learning)
    • Digital Platforms, Content and Applications, and Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
  • Health and Wellbeing
    • Connected Health and Independent Living
    • Medical Devices
    • Diagnostics
    • Therapeutics
  • Food
    • Food for Health
    • Smart and Sustainable Food Production and Processing
  • Energy, Climate Action and Sustainability
    • Decarbonising the Energy System
    • Sustainable Living
  • Manufacturing and Materials
    • Advanced and Smart Manufacturing
    • Manufacturing and Novel Materials
  • Services and Business Processes
    • Innovation in Services and Business Processes

The report on the Research Priority Areas 2018 to 2023 was published in March 2018.