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What could Irish businesses learn from those in Singapore?

An ESRI study has compared the two countries as examples of countries where the number of patents is above average.

Image: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

IRISH BUSINESSES could learn from those in Singapore by building on the work and knowledge of multinational companies based here, as well as international counterparts.

That’s according to a study published today by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), the state-sponsored economic think tank.

The research compared the two countries as examples of small and open economies which had attracted particularly high amounts of foreign direct investment in the last three decades, and which particularly flourished in the technology sector.

“A key difference between them, however, has been public investment in [research and development] – which in Ireland has been concentrated in the higher education sector and in Singapore has taken place primarily in public research institutes,” the report says.

The study, carried out by Prof Nola Hewitt-Dundas of Queen’s University Belfast, also finds that Singapore has been able to create a culture where indigenous technological capability is relatively high. This means the country is better placed to take advantage of innovation in other firms.

In particular, two-thirds of the technological knowledge flows into multinational firms comes from other multinationals based in Singapore. Though this relationship is also present in Ireland, it was less prominent, with about half of ‘knowledge flows’ coming from other multinationals based here.

The report adds that while both countries have been successful in targeting high-tech investment, which in each case has led to technological hubs which in turn would attract more investment, there was “limited evidence” of any success in either country of public sector capability in strengthening innovation links with multinationals.

Read: US Senate condemns Microsoft for ‘dubious’ Irish tax operations

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Gavan Reilly

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