Poll: Should Ireland focus on commercialising research to grow its startup sector?

Issues surrounding intellectual property rights and equity stakes can make spin-outs tricky.

By Laura Roddy Reporter, Fora

IRELAND’S STARTUP SECTOR has some long held issues, as a lack of early-stage investment and a tax regime that doesn’t encourage risk are cited as factors that make it hard to start and grow a successful company in an ultra-competitive international arena.

However, could increasing the commercialisation of academic research help take the startup scene to the next level?

That’s what Avolon’s co-founder and chief executive Dómhnal Slattery thinks, as he recently told Fora that the Irish government and private companies are not directing enough funding to “high quality” and “ground-breaking” PhD research that can be commercialised.

Enterprise Ireland figures show the number of successful companies spinning out from third level institutions has increased over the past decade, from one or two companies a year to 30 in 2018.

Spinning a company from a university is not a simple process, however, with issues surrounding intellectual property rights, technology transfers, equity stakes and different policies across various universities.

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Keeping this in mind, Fora is asking our readers this week: Should Ireland focus on the commercialization of research to grow its startup sector?