Data this year suggest a steady state has been achieved in national performance in knowledge transfer. This is across new commercial opportunities disclosed, licensing activity and spin-out company formation.

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Submission to the AKTS is from Ireland’s Higher Education Institutes which in 2021 comprised eight Universities, three Technological Universities, seven Institutes of Technology and two Colleges. Teagasc, the Marine Institute and Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) also contribute.

Insight Statistical Consulting (Insight) were commissioned to capture the data, validate and produce the outputs from which the published report is generated.

Executive Summary

Research projects between companies and RPOs are of significant importance in the area of RD&I activity. In 2021 there were 1,339 new R&D agreements signed with companies to commence new research projects. At year end there were 1,780 research projects live across all RPOs. There were a total of 2,121 new contracts with industry in 2021 which include 782 consultancy agreements.

347 Collaborative Research Agreements and 210 Consultancy Agreements were signed with Non-commercial entities. The total number of R&D Agreements and Consultancy Agreements signed in 2021 with industry and non-commercial entities totalled 2,678. The majority of intellectual property licences, options and assignments to companies were for patents and software at 30% and 22% respectively.

Over the period 2017-2021 the total number of spin-out companies formed was 139, an average of 28 per year. In 2021, 32 new spin-outs were created. Five companies previously spun out from an RPO were acquired by or merged with another company. As of December 2021, there were 143 Active Spin-out companies (3+ years post formation) and these companies employ at least 1,218 people.

Research expenditure for the 23 RPOs totalled €672m in 2021 with 8.6% (€57.6m) of this being derived from Industry. Revenue return to RPOs from commercialisation activities with industry totalled approximately €143m. 89% of this came from research agreements (research collaborations + Innovation Vouchers) and almost 3% from consultancy services. The remaining revenue return came from license, equity and dividend and use of facilities and equipment.

Access to the full report is available here.

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