Report of the research prioritization steering group

Contact person 
Terry O'Brien
South-East Regional Authority (SERA)
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Innovation instrument(policy)
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Research Infrastructures
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What is the title/name of the instrument/policy? 
Report of the research prioritization steering group
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Higher education institutions (education function)
Higher educations institutions research units/centres
New technology based firms/new knowledge intensive service firms
What is the aim/objective? 
This is an Official Government policy document: discussion / strategy document. Key objective of this policy is to define a strategy or plan for future actions. Indicators used include R&D intensity. However The National Prioritisation Steering Group did not specify any indicators in their report. They did however recommend that any policy goals and objectives set should be underpinned by a set of national indicators that reflect the goals and objectives (e.g. R&D intensity of enterprise; number of research personnel per 1000 employees) and these should include indicators of economic impact. The Steering Group specified that these indicators should help to clarify programme level objectives and targets and the allocation of resources. The Group also stated that there should also be clarity in the allocation of roles and responsibilities to achieve the high level targets.
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The policy context for the research prioritisation strategy was that previous STI strategy documents had focused on a range of outcomes including a doubling of PhD graduates. However, against a backdrop of reduced Government funding for STI as a result of the economic crisis policy-makers recognised that there was a need to ensure that the allocation of public resources for R&D was carefully targeted to leverage maximum benefit for the Irish economy, especially in terms of employment. There was a recognition that Ireland needed to focus its R&D expenditure on those areas which were associated with a large global market or markets in which companies in Ireland already competed or could realistically compete. There was also a concern that previous STI resource allocation had focused more on basic research then on applied or close-to-market research. To assist industry to produce more innovative products and services, policy-makers sought to ensure that any re-alignment of public R&D resources addressed the full research spectrum. Against a backdrop of constrained exchequer resources they wished to ensure that funding would be not only prioritised to those sectors which generated the maximum return to Ireland but also to that part of the research spectrum which was closed to market i.e. that would generate a more immediate return to society. The report of the Research Prioritisation Steering Group noted that while Ireland's past STI policy emphasis had served the country well there was a need now for a more focused, top-down targeted approach to R&D funding allocation.
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Sunday, January 1, 2012
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The report by the Research Prioritisation Steering Group identifies 14 priority areas that will become the focus of future State investment in research and innovation. The priority areas build on existing research strengths and investments and target public investment towards areas which will ensure that Ireland is a top-tier location for knowledge and innovation intensive enterprises and jobs for the future. The 14 priority areas recommended by the Steering Group were identified based on research by Forfás, and incorporating input from the research community, the enterprise sector and research funding departments and agencies. The areas selected span all fields of science from natural sciences and engineering to humanities and social sciences. In addition to the 14 priority areas there are recommendations on platform science and technology. The Steering Group also put forward recommendations on how the priority areas should be implemented within the wider science, technology and innovation system.
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