Digitalisation and advanced manufacturing
Our manufacturing is globalised, diverse, and smart. Digital readiness matters to competitiveness and resilience. The European Investment Bank (2023) found that “digitalisation drives firms’ resilience to economic disruption and climate change, and it has helped European businesses resist repeated shocks”. The EIB report that recent shocks have also accelerated digital adoption.
While progress is being made, we must address gaps in the state and rate of our digital readiness. Policy makers must lead, safeguard, and enable further digital, and data enabled opportunities across manufacturing.
Retain and intensify political commitment to the digital agenda and its implementation across manufacturing: Ireland and the EU have committed to ambitious digital and green transitions to 2030. These ambitions share similarities and dependencies. Intensify work with business and other partners to lead and shape EU governance and conditions impacting further digital transformation of manufacturing.
Build regulatory infrastructure to support advanced manufacturing: Develop, co-ordinate and adequately resource national cybersecurity and regulatory capacities in expected digital regulation impacting advanced manufacturing e.g., AI and data.
Introduce a new multiannual ‘National Digital Agenda Accelerator’ Fund: Ireland needs to maximise its planned National Recovery and Resilience Plan and National Development Plan investment in digital and needs to future proof trusted digital innovation, skills, adoption, and services across future Budgets and the latter half of this decade. We recommend a fund of €500 million in the period 2024-2030.
Build awareness amongst business about benefits of digital transformation: Pay particular attention to supporting further: technology awareness and diffusion; strategic and technical skills development and training pathways; attracting/retaining mobile talent; and research commercialisation. Actively engage industry.
Address administrative and planning delays to digital infrastructure with priority being given to strategic physical and institutional infrastructure that supports advanced manufacturing.