• Every €1 invested in Ireland’s national software SFI Research Centre had over five times multiplier impact on the economy
  • Report highlights value of State expenditure in one of Ireland’s national research centres
  • 2,678 jobs created nationally

Limerick; Thursday, 17th January, 2019:  A new study by Kemmy Business School at University of Limerick has assessed the economic impact of Lero, the Irish Software SFI Research Centre, on the Irish economy through its expenditure. The centre is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) as well as by contracts from Irish and international technology corporations. The report found that for the period 2005-2018, every €1 invested by public funding agencies and industry partners in Lero contributed €5.25 to the Irish economy on average.

This represents a contribution by Lero to national gross output of over €515 million during this period.

In addition, the Kemmy Business School Report finds that Lero’s economic activity has contributed to the creation of 2,678 jobs nationally.

In summary, the report finds that Lero has made a significant economic contribution to the Irish economy,” commented Prof Helena Lenihan, economist at the Kemmy Business School and co-author of the report.

There is little doubt that Lero provides other benefits such as boosting software knowledge and positioning Ireland as a key part of the State infrastructure which attracts Foreign Direct Investment and supports local industry. However, this report focuses solely on the ripple effects of Lero’s expenditure in the economy, which shows a strong knock-on economic impact.”

Prof Brian Lucey at Trinity Business School, who was consulted on the report, commented, “The results represent evidence of the wider economic benefits of investing in publicly funded scientific research.”

Lero is part of the world-leading SFI Research Centre network. Since 2005, it has received €98.69 million from national funding agencies including Science Foundation Ireland, the EU and industry.

Headquartered at University of Limerick, Lero is home to more than 200 researchers across all seven Irish universities and two Institutes of Technology. Its research covers a wide range of software development from driverless cars and automation to artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

Prof Brian Fitzgerald, Director, Lero. Fitzgerald said “As well as its economic impact, Lero compares highly favourably with similar research centres internationally. A bibliometric analysis shows that Lero research is cited 96% more times than the expected norm for the field. 31% of Lero research is published in the Top 10 percentile of most cited journals in the field; and 21% of Lero research is in the Top 10 percentile of most cited papers in the sector.”

Welcoming the findings, Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland added, “Science Foundation Ireland invests in world-class scientific research with deep and significant enterprise engagement, excellence and impact. It is gratifying to note the more than five times economic multiplier impact from investment in the Lero SFI Research Centre in what is an increasingly important sector globally.”

Full report can be found here.