Sean Canney TD, Minister for Natural Resources, has welcomed Geoscience Ireland (GI), the business cluster supported by Geological Survey Ireland, receiving the "Cluster Management Excellence Label BRONZE – Striving for Cluster Excellence". The accreditation is supported by DG Enterprise and Industry (DG Growth) of the European Commission.
The methodology and accreditation of cluster benchmarking in Europe is delivered by the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA); ESCA bases its benchmarking on a number of indicators including a clusters' structure, strategy, achievements and recognition, management and governance, and financing and services.
Since its inception in 2012, GI's membership has grown to 38 member companies and these companies have created 1,356 net new jobs in the highly specialised area of geoscience. The GI Secretariat, comprising four full-time staff, assists its members in winning business overseas by way of tracking market intelligence and commercial tenders, by representing members and quality networking on behalf of members at international conferences, by training and branding, and by continuously connecting its members to end-clients in over 50 countries.
Cluster policy is a tested method of developing and managing collaboration between the private sector, research and development institutions and agencies, and government bodies; the European Commission supports cluster policy as a driver in European Industrial Policy Strategy and its innovation and entrepreneurship policies.
GI continues to build on best practice, in recent months, GI has:
- rolled out its 2022 Strategy – the strategy will maintain GI's core focus of connecting its members to commercial and research opportunities, continue its diverse international strategy and grow the influence of the geoscience sector (see report);
- promoted the STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Math) sector; through the Action Plan for Jobs, GI is part of economic and enterprise policy and is partnered with the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG) which is Ireland's national geoscience research centre and encompasses Ireland's major colleges and universities;
- collaborated with its European partners in winning a COSME (DG Growth) funded 'Geo-Energy for the 21st Century' (GEO-ENERGY EUROPE) project – the project is directed at assisting European SMEs in accessing the highly competitive, global geothermal supply chain (see link);
- led a successful bid, with industry stakeholders, to develop a new Geo Driller Apprenticeship – the first qualification of its kind for the drilling industry in Ireland and is due to start in September 2019 in Carlow IT (see link); and
- assisted in developing a Leadership Development Programme for professionals in collaboration with the Irish Management Institute, the Construction Industry Federation and GI Members.
Minister Canney said: "I'm delighted GI has been recognised for its achievements in assisting its member companies in accessing and competing in overseas markets. My Department will continue to assist the geoscience sector in Ireland – which is directly worth €1.5 billion to the Irish economy and employs over 15,000 people – and GI in benchmarking itself against European best practice in cluster development".
Geological Survey Ireland's Economic Review of the Irish Geoscience Sector (2017) puts a value of €3,277m on the overall Economic Impact of the sectoral outputs for 2016, across the areas of Geotourism & Geoheritage, Groundwater, Extractive Industries, Geoscience Research and Geohazards. Employment (FTE's) figures calculated for the same year, across the same subsectors, comes to 15,110 directly employed, with a further 9,628 Indirect and Induced, giving a total of 24,739 (view report).
Notes to Editors
Geoscience Ireland is a business cluster comprising 38 companies, delivering integrated expertise in water, minerals, environmental and infrastructure development to clients in over 50 countries.
GI is supported by Geological Survey Ireland (a division of Dept. Communication, Climate Action and Environment), Enterprise Ireland and Dept. Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The GI Member Companies provide design, consultancy and contracting services to multilateral agencies, governments and the private sector.