Unique programme to bring researchers and employers together opens for business

Mr. Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, has announced the launch of the Irish Research Council’s 2016 Employment Based Postgraduate Programme (EBP). The programme will contribute to the achievement of targets set out in Innovation 2020, the strategy for Research and Development, Science and Technology launched yesterday by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD. Innovation 2020 targets expansion in Masters and PhD output over the period 2015-2020 to address enterprise and other national needs.

The Employment Based Postgraduate Programme is a unique national initiative that provides students from any discipline the opportunity to work in a partnering company or organisation whilst gaining a postgraduate research qualification. Employers who have participated in the scheme to date include Nuritas, AYLIEN, IBM, Orbsen Therapeutics, Alltech, FotoNation and Monaghan Mushrooms, to name just a few.

In opening the 2016 Call, the Minister stated 'I am delighted to announce the 2016 Irish Research Council’s Employment-Based Programme. I today had the opportunity to meet some of the leading companies involved with the programme as well as researchers who have benefited. It is absolutely critical to the future success of the Irish economy that we apply research and innovation to our business challenges, and provide the necessary supports to enable companies and academic institutions to work together for mutual benefit. The advantages are numerous, including job creation, increased exports, opening up of commercial opportunities, and the positioning of Ireland as a top-class research and innovation centre.'

Also speaking at the launch of the EBP 2016 Call, Prof. Jane Ohlmeyer, Chair of the Irish Research Council, stated that 'working with enterprise and employers is part of the core mission of the Irish Research Council, and the EBP offers a low-risk, low-cost route to research for employers both large and small. The Council is all about developing people through excellent research. Through collaboration with employers, participating scholars develop a range of important additional transferable and complementary skills which open up new avenues for career development.'

The programme also contributes to the Government’s targets under the Action Plan for Jobs. Since the recent inception of the programme, over 120 jobs have been created for researchers, who are currently embedded in a range of organisations and sectors, including in commercial and not-for-profit settings.