Cork Institute of Technology was delighted to host representatives from The Botswana International University of Science & Technology, University of Pretoria, and Universidad del Rosario, during a week-long visit arriving on the 15th May 2019 and departing on 24th May 2019. A total of six international delegates visited as part of an Erasmus+ ICM.

Universities, industry clusters and regional development organisations across these three nations were visiting as part of this benchmarking collaboration initiative to promote synergies across key stakeholders in industry, academia, and government. The primary purpose was to connect the visitors with key members of Cork’s innovation ecosystem in the context of knowledge sharing and collaboration on projects of joint interest including: Erasmus+, ecoRIS3 and Regional Cluster Development.

The delegation was hosted locally by Dr. John Hobbs, Senior Lecturer, School of Business / Mr. Jamie Meehan, Senior Researcher, V-LINC and Dr. Breda Kenny, Head of the School of Business. The visitors included Dr. Oteng Tabona, Lecturer, Dr. Mmoloki Mangwala, Lecturer, Prof. Patricia Masego Makepe and Mr. Gaofenngwe Rantshilane, International Office Manager (all BIUST), Dr. André van der Vyver (University of Pretoria), and Dr. Valérie Gauthier (Universidad del Rosario). Dr. Hobbs believes “the visit represented a great opportunity to connect with new partners when showcasing the Cork developing cluster landscape and innovation ecosystem”.  


Image: CIT’s Research and Innovation Community Gather on Friday 17th May 2019

An event to connect CIT’s Research and Innovation Community with our international guests was held at the Nimbus Research Centre between research groups to promote the various activities of NIMBUS; CAPPA; People Behaviour & Technology Integration; Water Systems and Services Innovation Centre; Hex-Spo; Halpin; Hincks; RIOMH and SIRIG. Where each of the CIT groups made a 4-minute elevator pitch, to outline their competencies and expertise. 

The group were invited to the official launch of Cyber Irleand on Monday the 20th May 2019 at the Cork County Council idyllic ‘Vertigo’ conference centre, where they were provided the opportunity to meet some exceptional stakeholders from industry, academia and government. David Stanton TD is the Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, officially launched Cyber Ireland.  

Image: Official Cyber Ireland Launch on Monday 20th May 2019

On Tuesday 21st May 2019, the Action Learning Cluster Development Workshop - a Key Action from the SOUTH-WEST Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020 was delivered by CIT on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation in collaboration with the Interreg Europe ecoRIS3 project. 

Image: Action Learning Cluster Development Workshop on Tuesday 21st May 2019

This workshop and action learning event for industry, academia and policy-makers showcased and examined best practice cluster initiatives, and their development from across the globe. The workshop also explored opportunities to foster the development of new clustering initiatives in the South West. Different international practices relating to clusters, cluster organisations, cluster initiatives and the role of Government/local authorities were outlined and discussed. The workshop outcomes will now be used to inform cluster policy development at national level and support the development of the ecoRIS3 Irish Action Plan.

A wide range of topics were up for discussion inclusive of Cluster development in Ireland, Role of Government/Local Authorities in Clustering Development, Global Clustering Development - Practices and Perspectives. One of the major outcomes of this action learning workshop was the need for a national cluster policy to augment and nurture clusters in Ireland and dedicated resources e.g. cluster organisations and managers to accelerate its development. High levels of collaboration and trust were recognised as being pivotal indicators for the enablement of clusters.

To sum up the events, Mr. Jamie Meehan, Senior Researcher, V-LINC Research Group stated that “the international visit has been a huge collaborative success and a great learning experience. Ireland is in a great place to become a world-class cluster development environment but stakeholders from industry, academia, and government must all work together to create real impact and change. Learning from national and international experts in the areas of industry clusters, entrepreneurship, Cybersecurity, business support, etc. has created many opportunities to encourage economic and societal outputs through the ecoRIS3 Action Plan”.  

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