Belfast Telegraph

A 'network of collaboration' essential to all-island innovation

Networks of collaboration are essential to developing Ireland as an "innovation island", a conference in Dublin heard yesterday.

The InterTradeIreland 2010 All-Island Innovation Conference at UCD explored the economic opportunities which arise from building collaborative networks.

Professor Woody Powell, an economic sociologist at Stanford University, California, said: "Collaborative networks are the locus of innovation and explain why high-tech clusters form in some regions but not others, even when the regions have comparable resources.

"The implication for all industrial sectors is that successful clusters require the thorough mixing of people, ideas and resources across the university, business and financial communities. The development of true collaborative networks will be instrumental in the development of a robust and innovative knowledge-based economy on the island of Ireland."

Dr Pat Frain, director of the university's innovation and technology transfer centre NovaUCD, told the academics and business leaders who made up the delegates: "The development and expansion of innovation networks have a major role to play Ireland's emergence as an innovation island."

Other speakers included Dr Martin Curley, director of Intel Labs Europe and Dr Peter FitzGerald, founder of Northern Ireland medical diagnostics company Randox Laboratories.