The consultation process for a new national plan for research will begin “shortly”, Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said today.
The plan will be the successor to Innovation 2020, which was launched as Ireland’s strategy for research in 2015 and aimed to build on existing infrastructures and encourage private-public collaborations.
Harris made the announcement on Twitter after having a video conference with the Irish Research Staff Association earlier today.
“If we’re serious about having a knowledge-based economy”, Harris said in the video, then Ireland will need to invest in research and “have a national conversation about what areas we want to lead on in research”.
Harris had a meeting with UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway earlier this week, in which the two discussed future plans for collaboration between Ireland and the UK in research.
Harris said on Twitter that the meeting focused around research into the coronavirus and climate change action, adding that he was “looking forward to strengthening the bilateral relationship even further”.
Harris has emphasised the importance of the role higher education plays in driving innovation since the beginning of his tenure as minister for higher education. In a video on Twitter in June, Harris said that the Department of Higher Education would have an “economic focus” and would “drive investment to our country”.
“I know only too well in light of the covid pandemic the huge pressures that there are to get people back to work, to help people upskill, to help people keep a job or gain a new job”, he said. “Research, innovation, science – these are the things that can help drive investment to our country and also can help businesses right across our country”.