Monday, March 28, 2022

Pictured at the launch of the South East Regional Action Plan (to 2024) were Minister of State Robert Troy (FF) and Patsy Carney, Chair of the South East Regional Steering Committee and Director of Kinetic Labs.  

Photo: Browne’s Photography

THE creation of a research Centre of Excellence, led by the new South East Technological University, is among the many objectives contained in the new South East Regional Enterprise Plan (SEREP), which was launched on Thursday last.

A regional steering committee, chaired by Waterford’s Patsy Carney, the co-founder of Eirgen Pharma and Director of Cork Road-based Kinetic Labs, developed the plan throughout 2o21. Eight other regional plans have also been devised and, according to the Governmnent, will be jointly funded to the tune of “up to €180 million”.

“The Plan reflects the region’s huge appetite to build a balanced regional recovery, one that is focused on future enterprise development and sustainable job creation for the longer term,” said Robert Troy (FF), the Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation.

According to Mr Carney: “We have developed a plan that is focused around five Strategic Objectives – encouraging entrepreneurship and start-ups, the green economy, principles of smart specialisation and clustering, innovation and to communicate the benefits of living and working in the South-East.

“I look forward to working closely with the Minister and Committee members as we move to implementation stage.”

Between now and the end of the year, the SETU and the Ireland South-East Development Office, are scheduled to complete a feasibility study into the development of a multi-disciplinary TU research centre of excellence.

This, according to the 58-page plan, arises from the increasing convergence of technologies, innovation, business process and models across a range of sectors including “pharmaceuticals, medical devices, functional food, personalised medicines, etc”. However, this study is not yet monied given that “resource requirements” and “funding sources” are referenced as ‘action outcomes’ within the pending report.

In terms of projects/companies that have secured SEREP-related funding, ThreeD DAC, a non-for-profit Designated Activity Company and wholly owned subsidiary of WIT, has been awarded just over €1.4 million for a 3D manufacturing facility.

The Tradebridge Collaboration DAC is to receive €247,827 to “create new opportunities for Enterprise Ireland and Local Enterprise Office clients to generate export sales and to open opportunities for the three South East Ports”.

Meanwhile, Waterford-based Crystal Valley Tech, the region’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) umbrella body, has been awarded €215,919 for an ICT Industry Cluster project.

And Incupharm DAC, which is located in the Waterford IDA Industrial Park, is to receive €81,446 through the Regional Enterprise Transition Scheme (RETS).

The largest South East funding announcement on Thursday last was the €1,439,832 awarded to the Insuretech Network Centre (INC) which will be invested in “global tech solutions to the global insurances services sector”. INC, established in 2019, is a collaborative platform developed by IT Carlow with the support of Enterprise Ireland.

The Plan contains five strategic objectives:

1: Start and Grow – Encouraging entrepreneurship and enhancing the region’s start up ecosystem.

2: Green Growth – Ensuring that the green economy becomes an engine for future job creation and economic growth in the region.

3: Smart Specialisation – The principles of smart specialisation and clustering are critical for the region to create a resilient, inclusive, sustainable, and competitive economy.

4: Innovation – Building on our existing RD&I capacity to place innovation at the heart of the South-East economy.

5: Place – Developing a region that is attractive to both domestic and international visitors and communicating the benefits of living and working in the South-East.

In his report preamble, Patsy Carney writes: “Education and skills are central to regional economic development and the recent news of the South-East Technological University commencing in 2022 is a hugely significant step for our region. Our aim has been to align this Regional Enterprise Plan as closely as possible to the Technological University with a view to ensuring it can be genuinely transformative for the region.”

The projects funded via the South East Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) and Regional Enterprise Transition Scheme (RETS).

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