€7m investment to supercharge Irish cybersecurity ecosystem

Innovation, job creation, new companies and company spin offs are the aims of the investment in MTU’s new Cyber Innovate initiative.

A new €7m investment in Munster Technological University’s (MTU) Cyber Innovate initiative is designed to boost cybersecurity innovation and entrepreneurship in Ireland over the next six years.

It is hoped the investment will also spur new company formations and job creation.

“It’s an investment in making Ireland a global leader in cybersecurity innovation and entrepreneurship”

It will also create a stream of cybersecurity innovation graduates to strengthen this sector  and enhance Ireland’s reputation as a global player in cyber security innovation.

Job creation engine

Donna O’Shea, chair of Cybersecurity at MTU said that the long-term expectation is for dozens of new cybersecurity companies and hundreds of new jobs to be created.

“The Cyber Innovate initiative isn’t just an investment in MTU becoming a truly great and globally competitive university, it’s an investment in making Ireland a global leader in cybersecurity innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Dr Donna O’Shea, chair of Cybersecurity in MTU.

“We believe the realisation of the Cyber Innovate initiative will see an Ireland that is cyber innovative, cyber secure and cyber successful. Graduates of this initiative will have the latest skills and know-how to create new and useful products. These products will help businesses stay secure online while boosting Ireland’s cyber security industry revenue.”

Cyber Security in Ireland is already a billion euro business and employs over 7300 people. Figures from Cyber Ireland show there are over 170 cyber security companies and 470 cyber security related companies generating €2.1bn in Cyber Security Related Revenue and €1.1 bn in GVA  (Gross value added) to the Irish economy. The median salary for a cyber security role in Ireland is €75k.

Cyber Security Investments in Ireland are trending up
Cyber Security is already thriving in Ireland and is expanding rapidly. Indigenous Irish cybersecurity startups have seen over €129m invested in them in the past five years.

How Cyber Innovate will work

Cyber Innovate is designed to increase innovation and entrepreneurship in cyber security in Ireland. Each year Cyber Innovate will provide 12-15 participants with the necessary skills to evaluate, select and validate ideas for new products and services which will contribute to the creation of new cybersecurity start-ups and university spin outs nationally. The initiative is grounded in industry needs and backed by academic rigour from MTU. 

Cyber Innovate will run over six years and each intake will work intensively over 10 months to identify problems and  develop real world cyber security solutions. Participants will have the opportunity to work with researchers in MTU and other universities to develop their solutions with support from   Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation funds. 

Participants will be supported with a tax free €38,000 stipend and will graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma in Cyber Security Innovation. 

Not only will innovative services and products be created, each year a new elite group with cyber security innovation expertise will graduate and it is envisaged  that many of these graduates will create their own start-ups .

This €7m Cyber Innovate investment is part of the €28M Innovator’s Initiative co-funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment via Enterprise Ireland and the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund.

The Cyber Innovate approach is similar to Bio Innovate, an existing  initiative based in University of Galway . Bio Innovate has contributed to innovation in Medtech nationally, a sector which has seen acquisitions and investments to the value of over €400m in the past decade.

“Together with MTU and other project partners Enterprise Ireland is proud to be investing in the future talent and innovation that will enhance Ireland’s reputation as a global leader in this critical sector,” said Marina Donohoe, Head of Research & Innovation with Enterprise Ireland.

“Cyber Innovate is one of four initiatives funded under the Enterprise Ireland Innovators’ Initiative.  This Initiative will deliver a dynamic cohort of high-calibre leaders and entrepreneurs focused on driving innovation in sectors of strategic economic importance to Ireland.  It will also help build the next generation of innovative start-ups in key sectors and enhance the level of RD&I in scaling Irish companies.”

Main image at top: Josette O’Mullane, Enterprise and Innovation Manager, MTU; Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment Simon Coveney, TD; and Donna O’Shea, Chair of Cybersecurity MTU. Photo: Darragh Kane
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