Innovation and R&D: EU Reporting

Forfas, the Irish Industrial Policy Agency, produce a number of reports on topics relating to innovation.

The bi-annual report on expenditure on R&D is broken down into Business R&D, Academic R&D, and Public Sector R&D. In comparison with Europe, it shows a pattern less than the EU average, but gradually catching up. When compared with individual countries in Europe, Ireland is significantly ahead of southern and eastern European countries but significantly behind mid and northern countries. The gap with the higher spend countries is somewhat lessened when the comparison changes from being based on GNP rather than GDP as Ireland has a higher rate of foreign direct investment. It shows the R&D spread by sector, the degree of outsourcing of R&D, the degree of R&D collaboration. Its interesting to note that the numbers employed in R&D in Ireland measure favourably with other advanced countries, although it hides the breakdown between researchers and support personnel.

The reporting on R&D spend highlights sectors where the by far the highest spend is in software and related sectors.

Forfas also report on the other aspects of innovation and R&D, examples are Patent Registration, Technological Knowledge.

The EU has annual reporting on the indices appropriate to measuring innovation. These indices are not yet fully deployed in Forfas reporting. A number of the indices for Ireland are compiled and submitted to the EU for their reporting. They show a number of strengths for Ireland. These include the number of graduates from science & engineering – an area being highlighted by Forfas in their Future Skills Needs reports as a future concern. Currently the shortfalls in the filling of positions with science & engineering graduates is being filled by immigrants, especially the recent flow of persons from eastern Europe.



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