Waterford Chamber has welcomed the Government’s announcement of the National Smart Specialisation Strategy, which is a new plan to identify opportunities for investment in every region in the country.

The publication of the plan is a pre-requisite for Ireland to receive €396 million from the European Commission to support regional investment through the European Regional Development Fund.

According to Gerald Hurley, CEO Waterford Chamber, “This is a most welcome boost, not just for industry but also for the South East Technological University, as we understand some of the funding will go to technological universities to help with research and technology transfers between SMEs and higher education institutions.

“There will also be provision for training, clustering and smart hubs for entrepreneurial research and innovation.

“We know from our own interaction with members that ICT, pharma, agrifood and the energy sectors are growing considerably across the South East and this was reflected in the Government’s national analysis.

“The strategy will focus on areas including digitalisation and digital transformation, green transformation for enterprise and international collaboration on research, development and innovation, which will have a fantastic impact on our region.

“We understand this is just a stepping stone and that Government will come forward with a number of region-specific programmes over the coming months. We look forward to reviewing those and will be contacting Government to ensure the voice of our membership is heard in terms of the programme development.”