Dáil Éireann - Volume 632 - 01 March, 2007

Written Answers. - Research Funding.

Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the amount of funding that will be available for research into new investment schemes. [8129/07]

  Mr. Martin: The development of a knowledge-based economy is one of the key challenges and opportunities facing Ireland. Increasing international competition requires improvements in efficiency, quality and productivity and a growing need to innovate.

The Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, launched in June 2006, was devised to address these very demanding challenges. The Strategy, which constitutes one of the principal pillars of the NDP, strives towards a vision of an Ireland in 2013 internationally renowned for the excellence of its research and at the forefront in generating and using new knowledge for economic and social progress, within an innovation driven culture.

Over the lifetime of the NDP the State will invest €6.1 billion in STI as detailed in the programme areas below.

World Class Research STI — €3,462 million

Enterprise STI — €1,292 million

Agri-Food Research — €641 million

Energy Research — €149 million

Marine Research — €141 million

Geo-science — €33 million

Health research — €301 million

Environment Research — €93 million.

The investment in human capital, physical infrastructure and commercialisation of research outlined above is complemented by investment in initiatives set out in the NDP allocations for Higher Education and the IDA. Taking account of these amounts, the global NDP investment in STI amounts to €8.2 billion.

The imperative to invest in R&D and its applications is matched by the need to be innovative in other areas of the economy. Services, including financial services, constitute one such sector. To that end, Forfás has developed a document, Services Innovation in Ireland — Options for Innovation Policy, which draws on a number of case studies to identify the main drivers of innovation in Ireland and which makes the case for Ireland to develop specific policies for services innovation. That document has been circulated to key stakeholders for consultation. Feedback from [1701] this consultation will allow Forfás to develop further proposals in this sector in the context of its 2007 Work Programme.