NERI Seminar Dublin: Innovative Competence, How does the Republic of Ireland fare and does it matter?

25 January 2017, 3:50pm - 5:30pm

The Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI) will hold a seminar on Wednesday 25th January, 2017. The details are as follows:

Topic: Innovative Competence, How does the Republic of Ireland fare and does it matter?

Speakers: Dr Tom McDonnell, Senior Economist, NERI

Date: 25th January, 2017

Time: Tea and coffee from 15:50. The seminar will commence at 16:00

Venue:  INTO Learning Centre, 38 Parnell Square, Dublin 1


Economic growth is central to improved living standards, in turn; innovation and the spread of economically useful knowledge are essential inputs for sustainable growth. This paper discusses the idea of innovative competence, considers the National Innovation System (NIS) and innovative competence of the Republic of Ireland, examines whether it matters for long-run prosperity, and proposes some reforms. The importance of knowledge generation and innovation for economic growth combined with inherent characteristics of knowledge that imply a self-regulating market will invest less than the socially optimal amount in knowledge generating activities suggests a rationale for public investments in Research and Development (R&D) and other knowledge generating and diffusing activities. It is unwise to conflate innovation with R&D or to treat innovation as a linear process. Technological change does not occur in a perfectly linear sequence, but through feedback loops within the system. Even so, it is notable that the Republic of Ireland invests significantly less in R&D than other small open economies in Western Europe. Government outlays are also below the OECD median. In addition, the Republic invests less per pupil in third level education and has one of the weakest broadband networks in Western Europe. These are concerns given the potential long-term implications for innovative competence and productivity led growth. In spite of these concerns the Republic generally performs well across a range of innovation indicators compared to most other EU countries. This suggests the Republic has a reasonably robust NIS upon which to build. 

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