School vouchers for business – Thoughts?

So what are ypur thoughts on these “innovation vouchersfrom the Government. It ain’t no smoking ban Micheál!

8 Responses to “School vouchers for business – Thoughts?”

  1. David Long says:

    My immediate thoughts are about the cost of protecting your new born idea / product before you go circulating it for outsourced consulting which you can pay for with the voucher.

    It it worth if for 5g’s? I’d think prefer to keep the research in house as much as possible and avail of R & D tax incentives.

  2. Ken McGuire says:

    I think its a great idea, particularly coming from one in a small startup who has plenty of ideas but not much time to flex them out or research them further. I’ll agree with David though and, this would be part of the reason the ideas haven’t been researched, is that I would still have concerns over early protection of certain ideas and outsourcing into the wrong hands.

    Though I do see Tom Corcoran’s name on the list of knowledge providers and I was well impressed with his particpation in the ‘finding money for your startup’ panel discussion.

  3. Rowan Nairn says:

    Well, how much does 5,000 iros get you? A grad student for 3 months? Maybe enough to get them interested in your problem to push it forward themselves…

    Business could pool them to fund a more substantial project. Would they? (actually there seems to be only 200 available. Doesn’t that sound a bit stingy? Well, maybe not. It seems to be about the same as California spends relative to GDP on this:

    I can’t find any info about IP ownership. Can you?

  4. anonymnoose says:

    As noted above €5000 isn’t a lot of money – being less than 1/3 the €16,002 available as direct funding for postgrads through SFI IRCSET.

    And there are already plenty of incentives for academia to work with industry including the aforementioned SFI scolarships, some of which are industry sponsored. So this seems to be a plan to incentive industry to work with academia. not that you can tell from this description

    Having said that, I can see 2 ways this can work

    1) Use the money to buy into an established research group, and get access to any internal web site/IP/testbed/other that they have. This is predicated on the idea that the group is long-lived and active (i.e. established) and of general interest to your area. You won’t get much immediately relvant research done, but you can get access to a larger pool of ideas and individuals and occasionally feed an idea of your own into the group. Or even hire someone.

    There are very few (if any) groups in Ireland who satisfy criteria 1). Maybe some of the groups in TCD. Although plenty of people are trying to build one.

    Further reading reveals that this seems to be expressly against the description on the applications page which specifies that “An agreement must be reached by the business and the knowledge provider on the exact cost of the service required and the work that is to be undertaken.” I suspect it depends on what is acceptable as a service.

    2) Collaborate with a group of like-minded people and buy a project or student in an existing research group. This means that you are more likely to get more relevant research happening. For different values of relevant. The usual pitfalls of interacting with universities and other companies apply. Wowan Narin already mentioned IP ownership.

    If you are following route 2) then you(the group) are better off providing your own money and contacting the relevant research group directly. There are already plenty of incentives for universities to participate in research with SMEs including matching funds or better from government. Turning 60K into 200K using the appropriate matching funds mechanisms is a good way to buy somewhat exclusive research.

    Option 2) is probably ruled out by the terms and conditions as well.

  5. anonymnoose says:

    Sorry Rowan, I misspelled your name in my last comment.

  6. Will the third level knowledge providers offer services for less than EUR 350 a day?

    Can a business draw down the voucher, lodge the funds and pay the knowledge provider at the end of the period of service? If so, that’s real money and could be leveraged for an overdraft approved by your bank manager. You would be getting more than EUR 5000 value from the process and that would be helpful for a starved start-up.

  7. Lal says:

    Mr Accountant – aka anonymnoose has a very valid point that “seems” 2b plenty of SFI research money available in academia land. However the IP aspects and the lack of &D would seem 2b the sticking points. Not sure as that what I c when looking around at their web sites etc.. IRC, SFI, EU, CORD etc..

    Overall the idea sounds good and I think really depends on what your want 2 get out of it and for the ‘provider’ if they are a good match 2 give u that info. Where u go after that …


  8. Tom Corcoran says:

    I signed WIT as a provider because I see this scheme as filling a gap that exists in getting help for startups and early-stage companies. Its often very difficult to find the cash to get a specific, relatively small piece of work done and this could be it. I expect to process the first application this week and I really hope the tech community takes full advantage of this programme.

    I think anonymnoose may be underestimating the level of expertise that’s willing and available.

    To Bernie’s point, rates will have to be keen to make sure that SME’s see this as a value-for-money scheme.