By US VP of Consumer Goods, Catie Riordan
Irish products are renowned for their classic craftsmanship and quality. Irish knitwear, tweeds and jewelry have long been sought after for their artistry and design. And a growing selection of new, high-quality Irish skincare products and innovative Irish toys are adding to this long heritage of quality.
Just in time for the holidays, we’re proud to offer this Irish Gift Guide for finding creative ideas for everyone on your list. Each product in this guide has been thoughtfully crafted and has a unique story behind it. Irish products make for very special gifts that will be cherished for many years to come.
Gifts for Her
Pestle and Mortar
Gifts for Him
Aran Woolen Mills
Gifts for Kids
Irish Fairy Doors
Wild Goose Studio
Brooke and Shoals
Don’t forget your dog!
Known in legend as a “land of saints and scholars”, Ireland enjoys a growing reputation for collaborative research and cutting-edge science.
For the second year running, Ireland ranked first in the world for knowledge diffusion and tenth in the Global Innovation Index. These rankings reflect the Irish government’s ambition to support its position as a world leader in the knowledge economy, founding Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in 2003, a sister agency of Enterprise Ireland (the trade and innovation agency), which funds basic and applied research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
Last year, SFI invested €173 million of Irish government funds in research projects, with an additional investment of €116 million in funding from other sources, including EU, international, and funds from private enterprise.
SFI supports research to technology readiness level (TRL) 1 and 2, basic principles observed and technology concept formulated, applied research, and for TRL 3 and 4, experimental proof of concept with technology validated in lab.
Funding science with commercial power
Once a technology is seen to have the potential to solve customer problems and is financially feasible, Enterprise Ireland offers a commercialisation fund for further development to TRL 5 or 6, working prototype, and additional supports to help spin-outs to source a business partner or commercial lead.
The number of SFI programmes involving national and international collaborations is growing.
At Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), James O’Sullivan, manager of the technology transfer office, says: “It’s not only that collaboration with academia gives industry a wider range of expertise than a company will have in-house. We are also very cost effective.
“The pharma company EirGen had a problem with tablet impurity in a new breast cancer drug. The Pharmaceutical & Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC) at WIT examined the problem and found a solution. The drug was launched on a European market worth €20 million and EirGen was subsequently bought by OpKo for US$135 million. That’s a very good return on €5,000 spent on research.”
Research investment win-wins
O’Sullivan also cites how, in response to a joint request by local engineering firms Shiva and Lisnabrin and medical devices manufacturer Boston Scientific, the first 3D metal printer was installed at the Enterprise Ireland-funded South East Applied Materials (SEAM) centre at WIT in 2015. As a result of that €1.1 million investment, Shiva decided to acquire its own 3D metal printer, Lisnabrin developed new services for the 3D printing sector, and Boston Scientific located its 3D printing R&D facility in Ireland. O’Sullivan says: “That research investment produced a win-win all around.”
The formation of Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI), a partnership between Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Universities Association, has made collaboration with Irish research institutions even easier for industry. KTI has developed a suite of model agreements concerning IP licensing, options and assignments, which Richard Stokes, director of innovation at Dublin City University, says have been “very useful in taking the heat out of IP negotiations.”
He adds, “There is a scientific revolution taking place in Ireland since the formation of SFI in 2003. Ireland is punching above its weight in terms of the number of spin-out companies coming out of its third-level institutions.”
As well as university spin-outs, there are also ‘spin-ins’, says Dr. Ciaran O’Beirne, technology transfer manager at University College Dublin (UCD). “There are outside companies that choose to base themselves at campus incubation centres because of the ready access they gain to expertise on an ad hoc consultancy and contract basis.”
One such company headquartered at NovaUCD is OCE Technology, a developer of radiation-hardened chip level components, which recently secured €200,000 in investment from Zhuhai Orbita Aerospace, a Chinese company, to fund OCE’s market development activities in the United States.
“In Ireland, we view working with companies as an important element of research and we strive to make it an effective and accessible process,” says KTI director, Alison Campbell. “To complement the broad range of financial supports available, there is a national IP Protocol, a framework to assist companies to navigate working with the research base.”
This, and the associated practical resources and template agreements produced by KTI, means that the negotiation of arrangements is greatly speeded up, leaving companies and their research partners to focus on the important part – constructing meaningful research projects that will deliver the right kind of mutually beneficial results.”
“With over 1,300 new live research collaborations last year, we think industry is making good use of the knowledge and expertise available within the research base.”
Trade relationships between Scotland and Ireland are on the rise, with exports in each direction increasing by over 100% since 2012, according to research by Enterprise Ireland, the trade and innovation agency. In 2017, Irish-Scottish trade exceeded £1.8 billion, up by 130% over the last five years. In addition, Ireland is also the fourth largest Foreign Direct Investor in Scotland.
To strengthen these trade ties even further, Enterprise Ireland led a trade mission to Scotland to further discuss how businesses in both regions can better collaborate. Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said, “Bilateral trade between Ireland and Scotland is strong, exceeding £1.8 billion in 2017 and there is immense opportunity to build on this for both countries. As Brexit negotiations continue, the Irish Government, through Enterprise Ireland, is committed to consolidating and growing Irish exports to Scotland and the UK now and into the future. Engaging with senior Scottish business and political leaders is critical to this effort: to realise the scale of this opportunity for both Scotland and Ireland.”
Given the close proximity of the markets and shared business culture, the Scottish trade mission reaffirmed the importance of strengthening trade relationships, particularly in the current Brexit climate. The two-day mission emphasised the opportunity for increased collaboration between the two countries and helped facilitate Irish and Scottish companies to explore areas of potential collaboration and power future economic growth between both countries.
Trade mission strengthens partnerships
56 Irish companies participated in the trade mission to Scotland, highlighting the strong business prospects for Scottish-Irish collaboration, as well as raising awareness of the scope and scale of the opportunities. With a focus on Ireland’s strengths across fintech, cleantech, agritech, automotive, construction and digital technology, Enterprise Ireland reinforced the synergy across the two countries especially focused on talent, ambition and innovation, as well as broader infrastructure opportunities in food and beverage manufacturing and offshore wind.
Deirdre McPartlin, Enterprise Ireland UK Manager, said: “Scotland and Ireland have always had strong trade ties and through the trade mission we aim to help deepen existing relations and grow the market opportunities that currently exist between the two countries particularly within construction, agritech, financial services and off-shore wind sectors.”
The mission focused on Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as at various other sites around the country, including a visit to the state-of-the-art timber facility of Glennon Brothers, a company supported by Enterprise Ireland, in Troon. Seminars, roundtables and networking events covered themes including environmental performance, innovation in asset and wealth management, and the changing landscape of Scottish Farming.
McPartlin said: “Our trade mission to Manchester earlier this year and our trade mission to Scotland, reflects the strong appetite from Irish companies to continue to grow their customer base and diversify within the UK’s regions.”
This mission has already helped to facilitate trade deals between O2 and ScotRail, and ABP Food Group and Central Solutions, as well as IDASO opening its first UK office in Edinburgh. These are exciting developments despite the current uncertain economic climate, and Enterprise Ireland looks forward to welcoming further prosperity of Irish and Scottish trade relations.
Over the last 13 years, graduates from Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin (TCD) have founded more venture-backed companies than graduates from any other university – according to PitchBook’s most recent Universities Report.
The PitchBook Universities Report is a “fresh compendium of the university programs that have produced the most founders in the venture landscape, ranking programs by their prolificacy across unicorns, female founders and more.”
Additionally, according to the report, TCD is the only European university in the top 50, ranking in 46th place, two places higher than its ranking in 2017. It is the fourth year in a row that TCD has been ranked first in Europe by the venture-focused research firm.
This achievement clearly shows Ireland’s ongoing and confirmed international reputation for innovation and entrepreneurship, a clear advantage for international companies wishing to find Irish businesses to partner with.
John Whelan, ICT commercialisation manager at TCD said of PitchBook’s Universities Report, “This rankings report is simple and quantitative. It is based on real numbers that can be drilled into and verified independently. These hard facts and easy to understand figures put an Irish research institution as first in Europe for the fourth year in a row.”
PitchBook conducted independent analysis from 2006-2018, in which time Trinity College Dublin alumni produced 232 entrepreneurs, formed 212 venture-backed companies and raised approximately $3.26 billion capital. Last year there were 216 entrepreneurs, 201 companies and capital raised increased from $2.372 billion. In 2016, there were 192 entrepreneurs and 180 companies.
Recent successes include Dr Nora Khaldi’s Nuritas company, an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Up and client, which raised $20 million in Series A funding in March, bringing total investment to $30 million, including early-round funding from U2’s Bono and The Edge amongst others, and Intercom – which recently achieved unicorn status after being valued at $1.275 billion following a recent $125 million investment round. Other notables include AR/VR-focused Volograms, data specialist DataChemist, food redistribution charity FoodCloud, and Artomatix, a software solution for 3D artists, all of whom are also supported by Enterprise Ireland, the national export agency.
Dr Diarmuid O’Brien, Chief Innovation and Enterprise Officer at TCD said about the announcement, “The news today that Trinity is again Europe’s leading university for graduate entrepreneurship further supports these ambitions and our role as a global leader in enabling the best students to become the best entrepreneurs.”
To foster this entrepreneurial spirit and initiative, Trinity College Dublin plans to build a new campus to foster entrepreneurship and innovation and hopes to be home to more than 400 start ups.
Dr O’Brien continued, “Trinity has placed innovation and entrepreneurship at the heart of its strategy – from the development of plans for a new innovation campus at Grand Canal Quay, to the establishment of a University Bridge venture fund to enable investment in new start-up companies, to the creation of Tangent, Trinity’s ideas workspace to enable student and graduate entrepreneurship.”
The new €1 billion campus will be based in what is soon to be known as the Grand Canal Innovation District, modeled after innovation districts in Cambridge Square in Boston and other cities. University College Dublin (UCD) has a similar space and innovation hub on campus – NovaUCD a “purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facility for knowledge-intensive companies.”