Fionn Murtagh’s Blog

Themes: information economy, intellectual property, research

Archive for April 2009

The Increasingly Critical Need for More Computing Graduates

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I have written in other posts here that there is a very great mismatch between the needs for clever and capable computing people versus the dearth of people available. This is really quite shocking in view of the current economic melt-down.

The Third Level Computing Forum, which is a grouping of all third level institutes – universities and Institutes of Technology – as well as companies and businesses in the sector, and government agencies, in Ireland, published a report some weeks ago: “There is a demand for Irish ICT graduates” – Third Level Computing Forum press release, 17 February 2009. It is well worth a look.

The RTE 1 television channel did a look at this mismatch between need for graduates in the sector and availability of people. This was on 23 April 2009. This can be seen now on Youtube. Again it is very well worth a look.


Written by Fionn Murtagh

2009/04/24 at 17:46

Pre-Commercial Public Procurement

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An ICT response to the current economic crisis is discussed in the following recent document:

A Strategy for ICT R&D and Innovation in Europe: Raising the Game”, 13 March 2009.

A joint focus is needed by researchers and those who deploy the results of research, not least – and this is something new in Europe – by the public sector.

A synopsis of what this relates to is as follows:

“By acting as technologically demanding first buyers, public procurers can drive innovation from the demand side. In addition to improving the quality and effectiveness of public services this can help creating opportunities for companies to take international leadership in new markets.”

Pre-commercial procurement of ICT to modernize public services is greatly underutilized in Europe compared to the US. This effects not only the quality and efficiency of public services but also it entails missed opportunities for opening up new markets and creating “first mover” advantage for the innovators.

There is insufficient coordination between public authorities and those carrying out R&D and innovation in ICT-based solutions. Examples are such areas as health, transport, energy. (Page 10 of the report gives further examples.)

Education policies have a special relationship with what is at issue here. In practice, across Europe, the educational arena is fragmented leading to lack of ability to focus all efforts on the big challenges that our society faces. Some sectors like nano-electronics and web-based services urgently require a shared European vision.

The report makes this observation: “… barriers to growth pose a bigger problem than barriers to starting a business in the EU. The reasons why European SMEs are not growing are multiple, e.g. sub-optimal conditions for their access to markets, innovation and finance; excessive regulatory burdens.”

Further information is available on the Commission web site at

Written by Fionn Murtagh

2009/04/24 at 17:27