Greater Research Warning for Ulster Business; Website Aims to Boost R&D Activity by Fostering Better Links
NORTHERN Ireland companies must devote greater resources towards research and development (R&D) and technology transfer if they are to remain competitive.
The warning came at the recent regional launch of expertiseireland.com - a website that aims to boost collaborative R&D activity by fostering better links between business and academia in Ireland.
Developed jointly by InterTradeIreland and the Conference of Heads of Irish Universities (CHIU), the online portal provides a database with up-to-date details of academic expertise, funding information, technology transfer and collaborative opportunities on the island.
Additional services provided by the site include bulletin /news boards and detailed profiles of research experts, including information on publications, research projects, grants secured and consultancy history.
Information for the portal is sourced directly from the knowledge management systems of the island's universities, with both QUB and UU now participating.
Although R&D spending in Northern Ireland has increased by 40 per cent in the last four years, it is still only about half the level in the rest of the UK.
At present, only 1.5 per cent of Northern Ireland's GDP is spent on R&D activity, comparable to the Republic of Ireland. However, this remains low by European standards and falls short of the 3 per cent target set by the EU to transform itself into the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world.
Among those attending the launch at the Northern Ireland Science Park was Bruce Robinson, Permanent Secretary, DETI, who said: "Continued investment in innovation is essential to create a competitive edge, particularly in the small-medium sized sector. The launch of expertiseireland.com will support this important work and is an ideal way for the private sector to access the untapped reserves of intellectual capital available within our universities. …