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AMBER briefs Oireachtas on Achieving a strong materials research ecosystem in Ireland

4 October 2023

AMBER held a briefing for members of the Oireachtas in the Leinster House AV room on Wednesday 4th October 2023 ‘Achieving a strong materials research ecosystem in Ireland.’

AMBER’s Executive Director and Economist Jim Power delivered a briefing outlining how Advanced Materials have been at the forefront of technological and societal progress throughout history from early stone age tools to the development of quantum computing.

An estimated 70% of the innovations associated with the green and digital transitions will depend on materials. The Irish economy faces many challenges and opportunities over the coming decades including:

  • ensuring Ireland remains as conducive as possible to foreign direct investment and enterprise;
  • strong national competitiveness;
  • quality of the labour supply;
  • addressing climate change
  • coping with the implications of changing demographics.

Increased competitiveness and improved productivity are key to maintaining economic prosperity and to allowing Ireland to build the infrastructure necessary to support economic and social wellbeing.

Ireland has underperformed in relation to global innovation indices since the turn of the century, including the IMD, Work Bank and World Economic Forum rankings.

R&D spending at just 1.2% of GDP is well below the 2.7% of GDP average amongst similar economies.

Emissions – Ireland ranks significantly behind the EU average on carbon dioxide equivalent per capita, averaging 11.8 tonnes per head against the EU average of 7.5 tonnes.

Ireland’s whole economic model increasingly relies on materials so it is essential that an ecosystem where the country is investing in science must be fostered.

Actions that can be taken now:

  • Offset risks to Ireland’s enterprise model relate to areas such as innovation intensity and high emissions level
  • Meet the demands of a circular and sustainable economy through advanced materials science
  • Develop science to meet the development net-zero energy materials
  • Develop semiconductor materials consistent with sustainable manufacture and in line with EU chips act
  • Develop materials to meet the demands of patient centric and sustainable healthcare
  • Ensure we have the talent pool across academia, industry and public sector to secure expertise in key areas
  • Build an all-island approach to materials science


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