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Employing PhD Graduates Benefits Irish Enterprise

16 Dec 2009

A new report launched on December 15th 2009 by the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ACSTI) has found that Irish R&D firms employing PhD researchers have rates of patenting 2.5 times greater than similarly active firms which do not employ PhD researchers and have vastly higher collaboration rates with both Higher Education Institutes and other firms.

While only 29% of R&D active firms employed PhD researchers in 2007, these companies accounted for 70% of business expenditure on R&D.  

The report, the Role of PhDs in the Smart Economy, highlights Ireland’s need to maintain a competitive output of PhDs in relevant disciplines in line with other developed countries and sets out a list of recommendations to maximise the development of 4th level education in Ireland and its critical relevance to enterprise and society.

Launching the report, Conor Lenihan TD, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation said “This report on the Role of PhDs in the Smart Economy is timely in that it highlights the benefits that PhD graduates bring to firms and sheds much light on the role they can play as we strive to build Ireland’s knowledge economy.  The confirmation of ongoing STI investment announced in last week’s Budget reaffirms Government’s continued commitment to the flourishing of the knowledge-based economy on this island. A supply of PhD qualified researchers with skills closely aligned to broader economic and social needs will best position Ireland to take advantage of the global upturn.”

Chairman of the ACSTI, Tom McCarthy commented “The ready supply of graduates in Ireland enabled us to exploit opportunities for growth that came with the expansion of the world economy after 1991. In the coming decade a capacity to produce graduates with advanced researcher skills will be critical in expanding the mandate of foreign multinationals already located here and attracting globally mobile R&D investment. Restoring competitiveness to indigenous enterprise requires the stimulation of R&D intensity and the adoption of appropriate technologies. The alignment of PhD training with the needs of SMEs will therefore be essential if we are to sustain export growth. Despite the economic downturn, the ACSTI strongly advocates the need to maintain investment in PhD education as an underpinning driver of innovation in the enterprise sector.”

Professor Anita Maguire, Head, School of Pharmacy/Director, Analytical and Biological Chemistry Research Facility (ABCRF), UCC chaired the Task Force on the Role of  PhDs in the Smart Economy 2007-2009.

To view the full report, see http://www.sciencecouncil.ie

Picture:  L-R: Professor Anita Maguire, Head, School of Pharmacy/Director, ABCRF, UCC.  Professor Maguire was chair of the Task Force on the Role of PhDs in the Smart Economy 2007-2009; Mr Conor Lenihan TD, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation and Mr Tom McCarthy, Chairman, ACSTI.

Analytical & Biological Chemistry Research Facility

Analytical & Biological Chemistry Research Facility Cavanagh Pharmacy Building University College Cork College Road, Cork

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