Presentation of my Dissertation findings to Minister Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

In Slidedecks from Conferences I have spoken at, What I'm working on at the moment on January 3, 2012 at 11:40 am


In December I had a meeting with Minister Bruton (Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation) to brief him on findings from my Dissertation relevant to the work of his Department. My Dissertation examined the practical issues involved in the Higher Education-Enterprise Innovation Interface in Ireland using the Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dun Laoghaire as a case study.

My recommendations that were relevant to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation included:

  • Introduce Mini Innovation Vouchers: To increase the level of engagement between students, SMEs and academic staff in key engagement enablers such as course projects and assignments it is recommended that a system of “mini” innovation vouchers be established. To a maximum value of €500 students (supervised by academic staff) complete projects on behalf of SMEs with similar processes as exists in respect of Innovation Vouchers.
  • Justification – Such an initiative has the potential to create symbiosis at the interface and create a “tracer die” to measure the engagement objective mechanically. The low value of a voucher should not lead to complaints from providers in the private sector.
  • Linkages with Enterprise Europe Network: To encourage all third level incubation centres to develop closer linkages with EEN. My recommendations at EEN’s annual conference in Warsaw included a similar recommendation to “Focus at developing long term collaborative relationships with “wholesale” producers of SMEs that need the input of the EEN for example third level incubation centres.”
  • Justification –  To avoid duplication of IP creation, to help Irish start-ups leverage relevant IP that is available in Europe and to improve the export growth prospects of start-ups through European partnerships.
  • Annual regional survey of skill needs: That the County Enterprise Boards be given the role of formally identifying regional enterprise skill needs via an annual survey in their county (carried out by an IoT) and that this be formally integrated into the strategic activities of the relevant HEIs and the relevant County Council County Development plan reviews where appropriate.
  • Justification: Will serve to improve alignment of the activities of the HEIs more directly with the needs of SMEs regionally. Has the potential to increase alignment of relevant activities between Enterprise Boards, County Councils and HEIs(a mini Triple Helix).
  • Accelerate the introduction of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships – this was a recommendation of Innovation Taskforce and would be helpful in creating increased symbiosis at the interface.
  • Justification: In Northern Ireland this instrument has been successful at creating symbiosis at the interface, it enables academic staff to interact with enterprise on joint agendas (which can subsequently lead to “up-selling” opportunities for the HEI).
  • Assign resources to the entry of students in relevant international competitions: That Enterprise Ireland be given the role of structuring a national framework encouraging high quality entries in relevant international student competitions that are relevant to the image the state wishes to project. EI would identify international competitions (or play a role in creating them), co-ordinate entry across HEIs (to encourage strongest entries) and provide soft resources to the supervising academic staff and students (mentors from the EI Mentor Programme for example).
  • Justification: The winning by IT Sligo of a top prize in Microsoft’s international Imagine Cup competition generated considerable positive publicity internationally for Ireland’s education system and workforce.

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