Taoiseach and Minister Harris announce Innovate for Ireland - a new initiative to recruit and retain talent

Published: 1 Jul, 2022

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris have today (1 July) announced a new partnership between industry and the government to recruit and retain research talent.

Innovate for Ireland is an important collaboration between industry and the Government of Ireland.

The initial phase of the Innovate for Ireland initiative will seek to attract up to 400 PhD high calibre students to undertake research in Ireland that tackles national and global grand challenges such as climate change and climate adaptation; global health and pandemics; water poverty; digital society; cyber-security.

An attractive package, including a stipend of €28,000, will be awarded through the programme to the PhD students. This has been benchmarked against similar scholarship programmes internationally.

The programme will embrace all relevant disciplines from Science, Technology and Engineering to Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Speaking today, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said:

"This government has a deep commitment to research and innovation and to addressing global sustainability.

"We need more top-class researchers and innovators to make Ireland a leader in overcoming the grand challenges of our times.

"That is what this programme Innovate for Ireland will achieve. It will ensure the best minds are advancing solutions here in Ireland and in so doing enhance our talent offering and our dynamic innovation ecosystem. I welcome the private sectors support for this initiative."

Announcing the programme, Minister Harris said:

"I am delighted to have the backing of the government for this new initiative, Innovate for Ireland. It has great potential to transform Ireland’s talent pipeline.

"Through partnership with the private sector, this collaboration will help us to ensure our brightest and best stay in Ireland but also that we continue to attract talent to Ireland. Today is an important step. A competitive call will now follow.

"Innovate for Ireland aligns with strategic goals in the government's Impact 2030 Strategy and my own department’s Strategy Statement 2021-2023. This programme will establish Ireland as a globally renowned hub of talent development and knowledge creation."

Innovate for Ireland is an ambitious partnership between industry and government. Subject to matched funding by private investors, a multi-million euro investment will be made by the State over the course of a number of years. Further detailed work will be done with private collaborators.

The initiative will be open to Irish and international students.

The programme will be managed through Science Foundation Ireland, in partnership with the Irish Research Council and the Health Research Board. A competitive call process aimed at Higher Education Institutes is being developed and should be initiated later this year.

Professor Philip Nolan, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland, said:

"We welcome this new partnership between government and industry to support the development of future skills and talent through excellent doctoral training.

"Science Foundation Ireland looks forward to collaborating with all partners to develop and deliver this ambitious programme."

Dómhnal Slattery, CEO of Avolon, who originally proposed the concept of Innovate for Ireland, said:

"I am excited to welcome government support for Innovate for Ireland.

"I strongly believe this will be a transformative initiative for this island, one that will not only establish Ireland as the destination of choice for world-class research students, who will focus primarily on the sustainability challenges the entire world faces, but it will also deliver a strong pipeline of workplace-ready innovators to our shores over the next decade.

"Innovate for Ireland will hugely benefit both our economy and our society. This ambitious collaboration will place this island of scholars exactly where we need to be, and that is at the forefront of game-changing global innovation."

Colin Hunt, Chief Executive of AIB Group, one of the initial enterprise partners supporting Innovate for Ireland, said: “Innovation is a critical driver of any progressive society and economy. It is through research that we learn about and improve life on our planet, not just for this generation, but for generations to come. AIB is delighted to commit as a founding cornerstone partner of Innovate for Ireland, empowering the talent of tomorrow to create a sustainable future for us all.”