Ireland, a new global science capital

Did you know, Ireland, a country of 4 million, is Forbes Best Country for Business 2013, in the top 20 countries in scientific global rankings and second in the world for quality of research in immunology?

Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland,  and William Harris, President and CEO, Science Foundation Arizona sat down to discuss how SFI helps drive the development and competitiveness of industry, enterprise and employment in Ireland through funding research in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The rationale behind SFI’s mission is clear: Good scientific research generates the knowledge and human capital that enables enterprise to climb the value chain. In turn this generates higher-quality jobs, products and services that command higher prices on export markets.

Onstage at the Future in Review (FiRe) conference Wednesday afternoon Ferguson was asked, “What is your investment secret sauce?”

Ferguson replied passionately with one word to be repeated throughout his talk – impact. Impact should, “embrace all the extremely diverse ways in which research-related knowledge and skills benefit individuals.”

It is important to note the distinction that was made onstage between impact and output. Publications and software patents are normally seen as outputs, while impact is created through development of these outcomes into improved healthcare systems, government process and state of knowledge within an industry.

“Excellence is required, but it is not sufficient. You must also be impactful.”

Today, over 700 companies are collaborating with SFI researchers with direct support from over 3,000 researchers, led by over 400 top scientists. SFI invites the audience at FiRe and the global community to work together on innovative and exciting new research projects.​