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Dr Liam Brown calls for national policy to continue to support and fund the delivery of RDI

Posted on: 27 Jun 2018

Dr Liam Brown calls for national policy to continue to support and fund the delivery of RDI

Innovation in the HEI sector is no longer a luxury but is a necessity to survive and thrive in a globally competitive landscape. LIT is an innovative regionally focused Higher Education Institute with a national and international outlook. We empower our diverse student body by providing a quality higher education experience enabling economic, social and cultural development. Our vision is to be a leading provider of higher education that is student centred, research informed, industry relevant and accessible for all. Active leadership in education, enterprise and engagement is our operational philosophy. Research, Development, Innovation (RDI) and knowledge transfer are central to LIT’s strategy. We engage actively with industry, business and the community and our proactive approach to the creation and support of new enterprise contributes significantly to the development of the local and regional economy.

With five campuses and co-located Enterprise Centres, across Limerick, Tipperary and Clare, on an annual basis LIT supports over one hundred start- ups, a mix of entrepreneurial spin-ins and spin-outs. When this is combined with our R&D engagements with established firms – SMEs and multinationals from the region and beyond, it creates a critical mass and scale. Through this we have been able to develop specialist core areas in fields relevant such as Biotechnology and Food, Health and Wellness, Industry 4.0/Internet of Things, Sustainable Energy, Rural Development and Social Enterprise. We bring focus to modern day societal challenges including social care, gender, migration and are a centre for Design, Fashion, Fine art and the Creative sector.

The world has evolved significantly in the last number of years and the pace of change has been accelerating at a rate that makes it difficult for industry to keep up. It is no longer possible for organisations to react, and instead they must innovate, adapt and advance technologically. As one of our partners, John Neilan, Director of New Ventures at Cook Medical says: “To maintain and develop our competitive edge, we have a clear focus on innovation and knowledge transfer.

Active engagement with the third level sector is a key aspect of our strategy and is critical to our business sector. Successful outcomes for us are dependent not only on expertise, which is paramount but HEIs must also be agile, responsive, collaborative and focused on delivery. We expect that this approach will continue to deliver Innovative solutions to our company and the wider sector, which is an absolute necessity for national competitiveness and further investment in Ireland.”

The LIT RDI approach is strategically orientated, market led, impact focused high- quality research projects and enterprise and development services which form the foundation of research excellence at LIT. Through dedicated partnerships between LIT researchers and industry partners our aim is to create a blueprint to remove traditional obstacles to innovation and revolutionise the way the public and private sector work together to bring research developments and advancements to the marketplace for societal benefit and to create new innovative opportunities for current and future learners which benefit industry and the wider community.

Nationally it is critical that RDI activities continue to have a strong applied focus, delivering specific innovative outputs in partnership with industry, community and other external stakeholders. Innovation in the HEI sector must be continually pursued and it is vital that national policy continues to support the funding and delivery of focused RDI which addresses regional needs with national and international development perspectives. It is important to engage on a deeper level with community, enterprise, industry and education providers in the region to deliver a more cohesive offering to all stakeholders. In summary a clear focus, agility, responsiveness and

collaboration will continue to be the hallmarks of innovation in the HEI sector.

Liam Brown | KTI Review & AKTS

Dr Liam Brown is Limerick Institute of Technology’s Vice President Research, Development and Innovation. He has a rich experience in research-industry interaction having managed Enterprise Ireland’s largest collaborative R&D programme, operated in conjunction with the IDA, Technology Centres and prior to that was a European Framework National Contact Point for R&D.

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