News & Events

Inaugural Science Foundation Ireland Founders’ Forum brings together innovators and leaders as part of the Startup Gathering

Science Foundation Ireland today (Monday) hosted a think-in for researchers who have founded or co-founded an Irish spinout enterprise to share their experiences and discuss policies and challenges for start-ups in Ireland.  The Science Foundation Ireland Founders’ Forum marks the beginning of Startup Gathering 2015 which will help showcase Ireland’s innovation ecosystem to the world and support our national vision of becoming a global startup hub by 2020. 

Science Foundation Ireland on behalf of the Irish Government, has over the last decade been investing in world-leading research in Irish higher education institutes.  This investment is yielding results as is evidenced in Ireland’s rising global scientific rankings and also Ireland’s commercialisation outputs; patents, licencing, start-ups and spin outs.   

As part of the Science Foundation Ireland Founders’ Forum, international thought leaders and entrepreneurs, Ben Lang, co-founder of Mapme, a platform for creating smart and beautiful community maps; Valto Loikkanen, co-founder and senior partners of the Grown VC Group and; Óscar Ramírez, co-founder and CEO of Startup Commons, shared their life-experiences and learnings as they took part in a panel discussion.  The forum focused on two main topics of discussion – ‘Embedding Entrepreneurial Thinking in the Irish Research Ecosystem’ and ‘Enabling Entrepreneurial Endeavour’. 

Speaking at the event today, Minister of State for Business and Employment, Ged Nash TD said: “The Startup Gathering 2015 is a major initiative of Action Plan for Jobs 2015, and is key in its support of current infrastructure and also of its encouragement of more people right across Ireland to start a business and ultimately create jobs. Science, technology and innovation play a huge part in this and one of our aims with the Startup Gathering is to raise the international profile in each region of what we are achieving in this area. 

“Today’s first meeting of the Science Foundation Ireland Founders’ Forum is very much in the spirit of the Startup Gathering as we have representatives from the research community who have been heavily involved in spinning out companies investing time in sharing ideas that could help to capitalise on our successes in the innovation space.  I congratulate all of you here today on your role in developing the start-up industry Ireland and would encourage you to help foster it further.” 

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said: “The scientific research community has a central role to play in fostering new and innovative enterprises.  Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to bring together these top representatives from our research community, all of whom have been involved in spinning out enterprises.  By sharing their experiences, challenges and best practices for commercialising the outputs of their research endeavours, they are fostering future entrepreneurship and commercialisation which is vital if Ireland is to become a start-up hub by 2020.  As an agency, we hope to learn from these experiences that we’ve heard about today to enable more informed policy decision making and support.” 

“The recently published PitchBook Universities Ranking, which ranks the top universities producing venture capital-backed entrepreneurs, reported that Trinity College Dublin was not only in the top 40 global universities but ranked the number one European undergraduate university, ranking it above both Oxford and Cambridge.  University College Dublin also faired very well coming fourth in the European ranking, also ahead of Cambridge. This is extremely positive news for Ireland and highlights that becoming a startup hub by 2020 is within our reach.” 

Science Foundation Ireland is supporting the Startup Gathering which takes place across Ireland this week (5th – 10th October) by hosting a number of key events during the week including the Founders’ Forum and the SFI Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) Pitch Off, which will see funded researchers deliver short dynamic pitches to a panel of judges.   The Startup Gathering 2015 will see more than 400 events promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and Ireland’s start-up sector taking place in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford as well as other regions, including the North East. 


About Science Foundation Ireland:

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funds oriented basic and applied research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) which promotes and assists the development and competitiveness of industry, enterprise and employment in Ireland. The Foundation also promotes and supports the study of, education in and engagement with, STEM and promotes an awareness and understanding of the value of STEM to society and in particular to the growth of the economy.  See 

For further information:

Science Foundation Ireland

Niamh Bradley or Alva O’Cleirigh

01-6073228/086-0271744 or 01 607 3249/087-9152553 or 

For Science Foundation Ireland

Morwenna Rice

01-260 5000 / 086-194 0069