A couple of weeks ago, I gave a keynote address at a Science Foundation Ireland seminar in UCC. A few people have asked me to post a copy on my blog, so with apologies to those of you uninterested in Irish science policy who may want to skip this blog entry, here it is.
The event was a public presentation by all seven Centres for Science and Engineering Technology, to the general public and media. Minister Michael Martin attended. The seven CSETs are:
I had returned from
Welcome. 24 hours ago I was in
Minister Martin has stated that “
In my view, we have yet to establish a deep culture of scientific and technological innovation. Given the major economies – the
A world class scientific result is now increasingly no longer the privilege of a single dedicated science professional. Today, it is far more usually the work of teams, collaborating domestically and worldwide. As but one example, consider how laboratories world wide collaborated extensively with their peers in
Today, I believe that the greatest opportunities for novel discovery lie on the boundaries between disciplines, areas in which specialists from a variety of backgrounds work together on a common challenge. Equally, the activities with the likely highest benefits to society and economic opportunities may be discovered when others may be too narrowly focused. The most likely successful structures are inter-disciplinary and highly collaborative, both science and engineering, teams, which is why we have – centres for science and engineering technologies – CSETs.
The Minister has mentioned the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, and this morning we will hear more about it and each of its six peer CSETs. All the CSETs are inter-disciplinary. As an example, the convergence of biological expertise with semiconductor engineering and nanoparticle scientists in the BDI CSET is leading to highly sensitive and hence early detection and low cost detection of diseases. The collaboration of radio frequency physicists, with software and electronic engineers, with market trading theorists and business analysts in the CTVR CSET means that radio frequencies need no longer be exclusively licensed and auctioned to the most competent bidders, and instead that right to use specific frequencies can be dynamically traded as a new global commodity: COMREG has described this initiative as Ireland’s potential new gold.
We need an integrated national focus to yield economic and social success. Cross agency co-operation on sustaining research, and development, nationwide on a small, carefully chosen, number of specific scientific and engineering problems which, if solved here in Ireland, will yield intense value for our tax payers’ investment. Such investments clearly need to be thoughtful and nationally strategic.
As taxpayers, we now own seven highly energetic CSETs, led by seven outstanding scientific chief executives whom you will meet today, our centre directors. Will the portfolio of economic and social agencies as part of our civil service now build on the CSETs, these seven people and their teams, as the foundation for a sustainable economic and social benefits for the decades ahead ?
The focus is not solely on increasing R&D undertaken in
The LeMass era, also associated with TK Whitaker, opened
2007 has so far been of public concern here in