Labour election candidate Colr Jimmy Harte says the Labour Party’s proposed €500 million Jobs Fund could be used to establish research and innovation hubs in third level institutions like LYIT.
Colr Harte said the fund would be used to provide infrastructure which would bridge the gap between research in universities and its subsequent development into commercially viable propositions.
Colr Harte said he was saddened to learn locally that some 50 Letterkenny people emigrated last week while another eight departed Ramelton for Australia on Friday.
“The graduates and well-qualified young people who are fleeing the country must be kept at home and the expertise available to create jobs in high-value areas like technology must be harnessed,” he said.
“There is a critical gap between the basic research taking place in universities and subsequently developing this into commercially viable businesses which can attract venture capital investment.
“Labour’s idea for an Innovation Strategy Agency bridges this gap by promoting and supporting investment in technology research, development and commercialisation, and going beyond the basic research taking place in universities like LYIT, as well as advising Government on how to remove barriers to innovation,” he said.
The ISA will target key technology areas and sectors such as high value manufacturing, advanced materials, nano-technology, bio-science, electronics.
The co-lab idea that is located in the LYIT is an example of how local expertise is already being harnessed to produce specialised jobs and become a centre for innovation, he added.
“We must use the talent available to encourage developments in expertise and the fund of 500 million can assist those graduates who have ideas to bring to the table,” Colr Harte said.
“As a father of four children, I am all too familiar with the fear that many parents are currently experiencing in terms of worrying about whether their children will have to move abroad in search of work.
“These educated young adults are now beginning to feel disconnected from the country from which they were educated and if we are serious about their futures, and by extension the future of this country, we need to be creating environments and providing opportunities which taps into innovation and gives them hope for the future.”