Published: Thu, 31 March 2016
Some of Cork’s most successful researchers, scientists, IT specialists, business people and college professors began a two-day showcase of energy and tech-related projects based in Cork with special presentations to a visiting delegation of EU policymakers, hosted by Seán Kelly MEP today (30th March).
“Ireland is world-renowned for its successful tech-sector, attracting major internet companies. In 2012, the Irish internet economy was valued at €7.1 billion – that figure is expected to more than double by 2020 and could account for 150,000 jobs by that time,” MEP Kelly said in Cork this morning, at the start of the two-day fact-finding mission by MEPs.
“Ahead of the European Tech Cluster event taking place in Cork in May of this year, we met with the non-profit organisation at the Tyndall National Institute this morning (Wednesday). The visiting EU delegation were very impressed with the efforts of this group which promotes the use of technology. Their May event will bring entrepreneurs, technology and business leaders and those working in IT together to exchange best practices, network and inspire the industry to innovate with a range of guest speakers. It is a wonderful initiative and Cork is well-placed to host it.
The Tyndall National Institute is one of Europe’s leading research centres for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) with the largest research facility in Ireland hosting over 460 researchers, engineers and support staff, according to Mr Kelly. “Tyndall generates an income of €30 million per year – 85 percent of which is from competitively won contracts with industry partners and customers in Ireland and worldwide from its Cork base. It is an excellent example of the research opportunities out there.”
Speaking to senior Cork researchers, Mr Kelly stressed that the EU’s Digital Agenda will be crucial for business: “European innovation requires a very keen focus on education for the labour force and access to technology and training for those in business. ICT, IT educational facilities and cyber security are now essential for SMEs across Ireland and the EU.”
The cross-party delegation of MEPs from the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee also had the opportunity to meet local young entrepreneurs and students at Cork Institute of Technology this afternoon. “CIT are to be commended for their ZERO2020 project by which they hope to make a 1970s campus building energy passive by 2020 – an example many public or private headquarters could learn from,” Mr Kelly added.
On Thursday (31st March), the EU delegation will meet with representatives from Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) marine and energy- based research on the potential of wave energy and marine renewable energy at University College Cork. MEPs will also meet with Shannon LNG and Shannon Foynes Port Company representatives. Shannon LNG has been cited as a strategic gas source for Europe by the European Commission.