Space presents new frontiers to Irish industry – Minister Sherlock

Ireland's Space Endeavours
4 June 2012

A special report titled 'Ireland's Space Endeavours' was recently published by Entreprise Ireland. It features 19 case studies on Irish companies and research institutes that have successfully engaged with ESA.

At Entreprise Ireland's forum on the benefits of Ireland's membership of ESA on 1 June in Dublin, ESA Director of Technical and Quality Management Franco Ongaro underlined the important role played by Ireland in terms of development of innovate technologies capable of performing in the extreme environment of space."I'm sure Ireland will be more and more involved in space due to the invoavation and competence of its companies," he added.

Speaking to the companies and researchers who are at the forefront of Ireland’s space endeavours, Sean Sherlock, T.D Minister for Research and Innovation said “the overall objective of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to get the Irish economy back on the right path to sustainable, export-driven, innovative and enterprise-led growth.

Minister Sherlock launched the report on the impact of Irish research and innovation (see link opposite). He stated that Ireland's participation in ESA space programmes can be seen in the context of an ongoing industrial stimulus and has provided an effective means for Irish researchers and companies to develop new opportunities in space related and other markets.

Minister Sherlock said that engaging with ESA has provided Irish companies with very real commercial benefits.

“The most recent figures show that the level of spin-off export sales from Irish investment in ESA was €35m per annum and is projected to grow substantially as the number of Irish companies securing ESA contracts continues to expand.”

The UK and Ireland as seen by ESA astronaut André Kuipers from the ISS

Ireland's membership of ESA is funded by Irish government and managed by Entreprise Ireland. This membership enables Irish companies and research institutes to participate in ESA programmes and secure valuable contracts for technology developments that can be commercially exploited.

Tony McDonald from Entreprise Ireland said, "Over the past 10 years, 80 Irish companies have secured contracts with ESA that have exceeded €80 million in value. But the real value has been created through the application of space technologies to no space markets. This ability to innovate and convert technologies to terrestial applications such as healthcare, emergency response, and environmental monitoring is where Irish companies excel."

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