James A. Cunningham and William Golden
National University of Ireland, Galway
"Ireland 's ambition is to become a leader in innovation. Our goal is to develop an innovation-driven economy that maintains competitive advantage and increases productivity"
Mary Coughlan, TD, Táiniste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade, & Employment (Coughlan, 2008)
The Irish economy over the last two decades has been one of the top-performing economies in the world with sustainable growth rates, success in attracting leading global companies through foreign direct investment (FDI), flexible labor markets, and a fiscal policy based on Irish business attitudes towards competitiveness and globalization. The cornerstones of this success and the development of a national innovation system were laid down in the 1960s when Ireland adopted an economic development strategy which had as its central focus the attraction of foreign direct investment. The predominant focus of industrial policy right through to the late 1990s was increased employment which was achieved by attracting and retaining multinational corporations by means of tax incentives and leveraging the skilled English-speaking workforce. In addition, there was an emphasis on building an indigenous industry base that was export-focused. The two policy platforms of FDI and indigenous company growth have resulted in what some have called a "dual economy" within Ireland.
Investment in science, ...