Ibec welcomes National Smart Specialisation Strategy

July 12, 2022

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, welcomes the publication by Government of a National Smart Specialisation Strategy for Innovation 2022-2027, stating that the Strategy provides a framework for regional economic development by leveraging enhanced collaboration and clustering between industry and the local education, training and innovation ecosystems. Robust industry partnership, and coordination between regional and national policy will be critical for an effective place-based approach to innovation. 
Commenting on the Strategy, Helen Leahy, Head of Regional Policy at Ibec said; “By adopting a regional approach to addressing Ireland’s Research, Development and Innovation challenges, the Strategy provides an opportunity to build on distinctive regional sectoral strengths, allowing each region to make a contribution through sustainable innovation-led growth to rebuilding their economies against the backdrop of COVID-19. Enabling the ‘Northern and Western’ region, the ‘Eastern and the Midland Region’ and the ‘Southern Region’ to build on their unique competitive advantages, has the potential to make a significant contribution to rebuilding regional economies, enabling each region to prosper.  
“However, it is vital that EU funding opportunities are fully leveraged to help rebuild regional economies around innovation and fully maximise the economic impact of the Strategy. The future economic growth of regions rests on their ability to innovate to respond to change, and to optimise the opportunities arising from science and technology developments and disruptions, including green and digital technologies. A robust and agile regional innovation and skills ecosystem will drive regional economic growth and support balanced economic recovery.  
“The Strategy also aims to bolster regional entrepreneurship through investment in the Technological Universities (TUs), initiatives to help with technology transfer between SMEs and higher education institutions and ensure TU research will be closely linked to innovation and the needs of the economy. TUs present a unique opportunity to act as anchors for innovation in the regions and build upon how innovation stakeholders cluster on strategic issues that underpin regional development.  
“We must continue to invest in regions to ensure that our regional enterprise base remains competitive, innovative, and resilient. To build capacity for smart specialisation and drive a step-change in regional innovation, the new Strategy must be underpinned by increased public investment in research and innovation in the upcoming Budget.”