ESB and Ireland Funds join innovation programme

Move brings private sector support for Innovate for Ireland to €29m

State-owned energy company ESB and the Ireland Fund have become the latest organisations to back Innovate for Ireland, the scholarship programme aiming to lure talent to this country.

Global Innovators Ireland, the company that promotes the programme, confirmed at the weekend that it has recruited ESB as its latest corporate partner, joining the likes of insulation maker, Kingspan and consultancy Accenture.

Innovate for Ireland has now attracted a total of €29 million in private sector backing, a statement said.

Accountability for bankers and how it will work

Listen | 46:11

The Ireland Funds will aid the programme by highlighting the scheme to the organisation’s partners around the world, Global Innovators Ireland also announced.


According to the company, Innovate for Ireland is establishing a scholarship programme to attract “world-class” doctoral students to the island of Ireland over the next decade.

The initiative aims to raise €100 million to support more than 400 PhD scholarships across Ireland.

Innovations that will help tackle climate change are one of the areas on which the programme aims to focus.

Last year, the Government committed €50 million to the plan. Global Innovators Ireland will work with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research and Science, partner companies, Science Foundation Ireland and higher education institutions to set up the programme.

Dr Simon Boucher, chief executive of Global Innovators Ireland, dubbed ESB “the ideal partner”, given the programme’s focus on climate change, while he predicted that the agreement with the Ireland Funds would benefit the scheme hugely.

Corporate partner

Marguerite Sayers, ESB deputy chief executive, said the State company was delighted to be a corporate partner of the programme.

Caitriona Fottrell, president and chief executive of the Ireland Funds said the organisation’s aims were closely aligned with those of Innovate for Ireland.

Earlier this year, Kingspan, a Cavan-based multinational building materials and insulation manufacturer, and Accenture, the global business consultancy, pledged €3 million each to the project.

Global Innovators Ireland last month appointed Dr Boucher as its chief executive. He previously served in the same role at the Irish Management Institute, where he negotiated a merger with University College Cork that doubled the business organisation’s level of activity.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas