National Research and Innovation Strategy 2021-27 Consultation Paper

Front Cover of National Research and Innovation Strategy 2021-2027 Consultation Paper

In July 2021, HRCI completed a submission on a new National Research and Innovation Strategy.

Consultation Paper Responses from HRCI

Further detail on the consultation process

Introduction: An ambitious new research and innovation strategy for a period of major transformation

The development of a new national strategy for research and innovation (R&I) is a key commitment in the Government’s Economic Recovery Plan 2021, which sets out the “dual ambition of placing research, development and innovation at the heart of addressing Ireland’s economic and societal challenges, and building capacity and capability across the research and innovation system to move R&I up the value chain.”

The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science will lead the development of this new national strategy, in consultation with key Government Departments, agencies and stakeholders. This new Department has been established with a clear mandate to work with all stakeholders to strengthen Ireland’s R&I ecosystem, drive reform and collaboration, and enhance outcomes which contribute to meeting societal, economic and global challenges.

The Taoiseach has recently stated that “a deep knowledgebase and a
commitment to expanding knowledge is essential if Ireland is to thrive in a world which is constantly throwing up new challenges

There has been a seismic shift in the challenges and opportunities faced by the Irish economy and society, as a result of the COVID19 pandemic. This is a shift that is also impacting at a European and global level. The experience of COVID19 has heightened public awareness of the importance of R&I in responding to the global public health crisis.
We now have the opportunity to build on this increased awareness to promote the wider relevance of R&I across other key areas of transformation such as climate change and digitalisation, and develop the right policies to ensure that R&I is at the heart of Ireland’s response to these challenges.

This new strategy will aim to be transformative in meeting these challenges. It will identify the reforms necessary to develop an R&I system that has the right capacity and capabilities, and which is supported by coherent policies and structures for
national coordination, collaboration and governance across the national R&I landscape.

The public consultation will be critical in informing the Government’s strategic approach. The next Strategy will seek to strongly align with key Government, societal and economic priorities, including:

– Economic recovery and resilience over the coming decade
Sectoral and societal challenges including climate, digitalisation, health,
agriculture, transport

Global challenges, including in the context of the Sustainable
Development Goals

Government strategies and national policy agendas, including the
Economic Recovery Plan, National Recovery and Resilience Plan, National
Development Plan, Climate Action Plan, enterprise and investment strategies, Regional development strategies, the next Smart Specialisation strategy and sectoral research and innovation strategies.

This consultation paper aims to reflect some of the main issues that have emerged in early consultations with key stakeholders. It also reflects the clear intent at EU level that R&I will help our societies recover from the pandemic and prepare Europe for the challenges of the coming decade and beyond. The strategy will build on the lessons of delivering the previous national strategy, Innovation 20202. The overarching vision in Innovation 2020, was for Ireland to become a Global Innovation Leader driving a strong sustainable economy and a better society.

Within this was a focus on excellence, talent and impact. The Mid
term Review of Innovation 20203 found that, while it has been challenging to meet some of the key targets of Innovation 2020, much progress has been made and the overall vision of becoming a Global Innovation Leader remains valid. While renewed targets will need to be identified and agreed during the development of the next strategy, the Government’s ambition for Ireland to become a Global
Innovation Leader has not diminished.

The consultation paper was presented in two parts. The first part examined what should be the strategic direction for our R&I ecosystem over the coming decade
and what role should it play in responding to major challenges . The second part focused on how these priorities could be supported and delivered across six core areas of strategic action.

Stakeholders were invited to consider the questions posed in each part and to provide their responses via an online submission tool.
It is the intention that the next Strategy will set ambitious national strategic goals and objectives out to 2027. Actionled Work Programmes will map out specific deliverables over shorter timescales. This will enable agility and responsiveness over the full period of the strategy and a strong focus on delivery and reform.