Budget 2014 Breakdown: Science

Richard Bruton

Since the overall budget figure for Science Foundation Ireland and Enterprise Ireland are combined for the purpose of Budget 2014, it is difficult to compare exact figures with last year’s budget. The total figure of over €400 million for research and innovation programmes takes into account all sources of funding (including EU and industry) so it is deceptively large. According to the Department of Jobs, Innovation and Enterprise, it is expected that €100m will be drawn down from EU funding in 2014.

Below are the highlights of the budget from the Department of Education and Skills as well as the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation that affect science / research funding. I have also included detail from each department’s press releases.

Highlights: Department of Education & Skills

  • The allocation to third-level institutions will continue to be reduced by €25 for the upcoming year. See explanation from the Department:

Minister Quinn is satisfied that Higher Education Institutions have significant amounts of cash at their disposal with up to €450 million available to them.  Last year the allocation to third-level institutions was reduced by €25 million to be restored in the current year. As a result of Budget 2014 these funds will not now be restored until 2015. The Higher Education Institutions are expected to continue to deliver the same level of services by more prudent management of their existing cash balances as they are doing at present. 

Highlights: Department of Jobs, Innovation & Enterprise

According to Minister Bruton “This is another pro-jobs, pro-enterprise Budget and is further clear statement of intent by this Government to continue the job we started in 2011 to rebuild our shattered economy”:

  • A total of over €400 million invested through EI and SFI research and innovation programmes in 2014, taking into account all sources of funding including expected levels of funding from industry and EU sources, in line with investment in 2013.
  • Two to three new, large, internationally visible research centres, in sectors of national strategic importance. SFI will look to invest €10m – €15m in these centres in 2014 in collaborations with industry.
  • Continued support to over 20 world-class SFI research centres and to a cohort of 3,000 researchers to maintain and drive Ireland’s job creation strategy.
  • SFI will continue to leverage funding for research centres programmes, building on successes to date. In 2011, SFI funded researchers leveraged €89m in non-Exchequer funding from a number of sources, mainly from private enterprise and from the EU. In 2012, this figure increased to €99.5m and this trend will continue in future years, as Horizon 2020 funding is drawn down
  • A national level “Health Innovation Hub”, to drive collaboration between the health system and commercial enterprises leading to the development and commercialisation of new healthcare technologies, products, services and start‐ups emerging from within the health system and/or firms.” This will deliver a significant positive benefit for the life-sciences industry in Ireland. This sector is of strategic importance to Ireland, representing 50,000 jobs and exports of €51 billion.

In Detail: Enterprise Ireland – Science, technology and innovation

Investment in 2014 will allow Enterprise Ireland to:

  • Continue to drive the innovation performance of indigenous industry and commercialisation of research.
  • Support 95 Innovative High Potential Start Up companies in 2014, with an associated 2,100 jobs, across a range of sectors, including Lifesciences, ICT, Food and Energy. These companies are the source of potential star performers of the future and each one will create at least €1m in export sales.
  • Build on the multi-annual €22 million Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative, aimed at driving forward the research commercialisation agenda. This 4-year programme, which runs from 2013 to 2016, will produce 150 companies and will license 514 commercial technologies to industry. This programme will also deliver, through the new central Technology Transfer Office, a responsive interface between companies and the wealth of technology, skills and “know how” available in Ireland’s higher education system.
  • Produce almost 75 new businesses in 2014 through the New Frontiers Programme, Enterprise Ireland’s entrepreneurial training programme.
  • Support the Innovation Voucher programme, which enables small businesses to purchase innovation expertise from a third level institute. In 2014, Innovation Vouchers will support small companies in Ireland to complete over 400 projects.
  • Support companies in Ireland to undertake 50 important collaborative projects with Irish third level institutions, through the Innovation Partnership Programme.
  • Fund in the region of 80 R&D projects for client companies that are valued in excess €100,000.
  • It is expected also that €100m will be drawn down from EU funding in 2014.

City Enterprise Boards/Local Enterprise Offices

€3.5million in additional funding for CEBs/LEOs in 2014, for investment in supports for start-ups and growing businesses.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)

The SFI Budget will facilitate continued underpinning of the Action Plan for Jobs commitment to use research and innovation to drive job creation, through funding enterprise-facing research teams and major research centres across many strategically important areas, such as cloud computing, future internet, energy, marine/ocean energy, health, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and agriculture.

  • The funding allocation in 2014 will allow SFI maintain its direct support to over 20 world-class research centres and to a cohort of circa. 2800 researchers who are connected to over 700 companies. SFI will also offer supports to young talented scientists to grow the necessary skillset to support Ireland’s future sustainable, high-value jobs capability.
  • A key focus for SFI in 2014 will be on the establishment , 2- 3 new large-scale Research Centres, supporting 200-300 jobs, in sectors of national strategic importance such as Medical Devices, Software, Diagnostics, Telecommunications, Smart Grids, Sustainable Food Production and Processing etc. There will be significant industry engagement and co-funding (minimum 30%) of these centres. Exchequer funding for these new centres will amount to €10m-€15m in 2014
  • Funding for 4-5 Research ‘Spokes’ , which are essentially a mechanism to enable the addition of new industry and academic partners and projects to an existing SFI Research Centre, so allowing the Centre to expand and develop in line with new priorities and opportunities
  • In 2013 to date, more than 45% of IDA jobs announcements so far have been in companies with links to SFI research teams. That’s over 3,700 jobs in companies linked to SFI funded researchers.
  • The enactment of the new Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) Act 2013 will see SFI funded activities move into the applied research arena, as well as continuing to provide key supports for oriented basic research. The extended remit will also enable SFI to fund on a wider geographical basis, meaning that for the first-time SFI will be able to fund on an all-Island basis.
  • In addition the Foundation will be able to enhance commercialisation of previous research investments, primarily through their Technology Innovation Development Awards programme. This is in line with commitments in both the Action Plan for Jobs and the Programme for Government to drive commercialisation across the State’s innovation system.
  • SFI will also be able to fund programmes aimed at increasing industrial engagement with SFI and at facilitating Irish research groups to lead and win in Horizon 2020 in the years ahead.
  • SFI will continue in 2014 to leverage funding for research centres programmes, building on successes to date.

The Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions

Capital investment in the multi-annual PRTLI Programme will continue to improve Ireland’s competitive offering in terms of research capability, through delivery of:

  • Over 20 key physical infrastructural projects (buildings and equipment) across Ireland’s Higher Education Institutes, in areas such as biomedicine, materials science, nanotechnology, health, marine and energy. Over the lifetime of Cycle 5 of the Programme, these projects are supporting 2,000 jobs in Ireland’s construction sector.

Tyndall

2014 allocation will support:

  • A number of new research breakthroughs, such as a possible anti-counterfeiting device, various MedTech technologies, and applications in the areas of photonics and energy.
  • Continued leading edge collaboration with industry in the area of ICT, photonics.
  • At least 2 new spin-offs from Tyndall technology.

European Space Agency

One example of the benefits accruing to Ireland through the DJEI Current expenditure provision in 2014 relates to Ireland’s membership of, and involvement in, the European Space Agency (ESA). Through targeted investment of public funds, Ireland’s participation in ESA, co-ordinated by Enterprise Ireland, will continue to support Irish companies in the growing European and global space markets. Investment in space programmes and associated support to Irish industry yields an economic dividend much greater than the initial State investment.

Exports in EI supported clients involved in ESA are projected to double from €27 million in 2011 to over €56 million by 2015. Employment in this sector is projected to rise by over 25% over the coming year or so – from 1,570 in 2011 to over 2,000 quality jobs in 2014 and 2015.

The State investment in the coming years in ESA Space industry and research programmes is projected to deliver the following impacts:

  • A projected rise in total employment in ESA participating companies in the space industry and research sector from 1,570 in 2011 to over 2,000 in 2015.
  • A doubling of exports in ESA participating companies, from €27m in 2011 to over €56m by 2015.
  • Growth in turnover as a result of ESA investment from €35m in 2011 to over €70m by 2015.

Structured PhDs

In 2014, the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions will fund 15 Structured PhD and Emergent Technology programmes, involving 450 research personnel.

These figures were obtained from the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation. You can read their full statement here.

Photo: From Richard Bruton’s website.