Former Intel Boss Tells NUI Galway Audience 3% Investment of Ireland's GDP into Research No Longer Reasonable Target
The former chief executive of Intel has called for increased investment from the government into research and development projects. Speaking at the 'Education for Innovation' seminar in NUI Galway, Dr Craig Barrett said a sustained plan of funding needed to be implemented if Ireland wishes to keep up with the world's larger and more business savvy nations.
"We cannot jerk around with the R&D policies of our Government and expect to get good results," said Dr Barrett. "It needs to be a sustained commitment. Why can't we have a Silicon Valley in our own country? What is it about society that makes that work? Universities are the key and they are wonderful spots to create wonderful ideas. Smart people and smart ideas combined in the right environment can create wealth.
"There has got to be a synergy between the public and private sectors. We have got to see our private sectors involved with the universities. They have the great ideas. We need to see them acting as mentors and partners in research. It is vital," he said.
The former Intel boss is in Ireland this week in his role as Chairman of the Irish Technology Leadership Group, and was keynote speaker at an event at NUI Galway. His address was followed by a discussion panel with John Ryan, Macrovision; Professor Patrick Cunningham, Ireland's Chief Scientific Advisor; Tom McDermott, Georgia Tech Research Institute; Dr Martina Newell-McGloughlin, ITLG and University of California; and Professor Terry Smith, Vice President of Research at NUI Galway.
Prior to his keynote address, Dr Barrett met with representatives of NUI Galway's leading research institutes The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) two major research groups: REMEDI and MDRG as well as University of Limerick's Research Centres, LERO and the Materials and Surface Science Institute (MSSI) plus Georgia Tech Ireland.
The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) is the world leader in Semantic Web (Web 3.0) research. At today's event DERI showcased a portfolio of over 25 of the latest cutting edge technologies emerging from the institute. REMEDI is a leading biomedical research centre focusing on gene therapy and stem cell research. REMEDI were joined by industry partner Ovagen who are working with the institute to develop technologies for the production of novel biotherapeutics. The Molecular Diagnostics Research Group (MDRG) at NUI Galway has 20 years experience and an international track record of achievement in the development and application of molecular diagnostics tests for microbial species identification. The MDRG were joined by research partners at Beckman Coulter Ireland with whom they are developing molecular diagnostics for clinically relevant bacterial and fungal pathogens.
Each year the ITLG leads a delegation of Silicon Valley technologists and venture capitalists to Ireland to support high potential emerging technology companies from the island of Ireland. This year's events are held in partnership with NUI Galway, University of Limerick and Shannon Development.
As part of his key note address, Dr Barrett also claimed that a three percent investment of Ireland's GDP into research and development "is no longer a reasonable target and that we "have now to compete with the rest of the world to get paid".
"Look at Microsoft," he said. "They have a research budget of approximately $8 billion per year. That is huge, and is more than all of Ireland spends in R&D. Israel now invests five percent of its GDP into research and development. And Israel has 140 new companies listed on the NASDAQ. Europe only has between 30 and 40. That is the future for Ireland and if we fail to pursue it with vigour, passion and resources, there will be no future for us because our lunch will be eaten by somebody else. We must outsmart them and outthink them," said Dr Barrett.