Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Beyond the Recession: what can science and innovation partnerships do for you ?

This evening,  I represented Engineers Ireland at the Foundation for Science and Technology discussion on "Beyond the Recession:  what can science and innovation partnerships do for you?",  at Queens University in Belfast,  by kind invitation of Gerry Cawley of our Northern Ireland Region and Council member.

The Chairman was the Earl of Selbourne.  The panellists were Prof. Peter Gregson,  Vice-Chancellor of Queens;  Eoin O'Driscoll,  Chair of Forfas;  and Dr Iain Gray,  CEO of the UK Technology Strategy Board.   The event was sponsored by Intertrade Ireland and Queens University.

About 120 attended,  including many from the Republic agency ad academic community.  Michael Hayden,  President of the Engineering Academy,  also attended.

There was quite an extensive Q&A session,  for which I have formally been asked to pose a point of view and ask a few questions.

I did so of the panel,  focussing on an entrepreneur-centric and innovator-centric approach for the agencies, noting that in the US only 8% of all venture backed start ups in fact come from academia.  I also noted that the key engine of a sustainable smart economy is company exits:  innovators start and build companies to sell them,  so re-cycling human and fiscal resources for the next technology wave,  whilst providing a pool of acquisition targets from which large companies can emerge by acquisition.  I noted that a smart economy requires smart government thinking,  and I highlighted the Taiwanese Government's decision to invest to disrupt the entire global semiconductor industry via TSMC,  from which a cluster of small Taiwanese chip design companies successfully emerged to globally compete.  I thus questioned the role of State aid,  and the role of the State in building an innovation culture.   These are all considerations within the Taoiseach's Innovation Taskforce of which I am a member..

No comments:

Post a Comment