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You are here:  Home / News Archives / 2008 / November 2008

Ireland's Future - Innovate Together

Pictured L to R: Noreen Fitzpatrick Programme Support Manager, Skillnets Ltd, Dr. Brendan Cleary, Senior Research Fellow, Enterprise Research Centre,University of Limerick, Sue Davies, ULearning Technical Co-ordinator, Dr. Chris Coughlan, Senior Manager, Hewlett Packard, Galway, Dr. Ingrid Hunt, Ulearning Network Manager, Enterprise Research Centre, University of Limerick, Mike Conroy, Senior Director, CISCO Galway and Chris Kurjan, Creative Director, Innovation Delivery 

The ULearning Skillnet Network held another successful national seminar on Ireland's Future - Innovate Together at Westpark Shannon on November 11th.

This Skillnet continues to be one of Ireland's unique group of Industry and Academia members working together to design, develop and deliver courses to industry using flexible, blended learning approaches. A number of industry learners showcased their innovative ideas through the media of poster presentations. Whilst the event also featured a robust schedule of noted experts who spoke and debated a number of current industry innovation issues. The event brought together a wide range of participants ranging from CEOs and Senior Managers of Multinational Organisations and SME Organisations all who have an interest in integrating education and industry.

Dr. Ingrid Hunt Network Manager from the University of Limerick stated that Irish employees and employers are deeply concerned about their present and future prospects in this time of economic uncertainty. Policy makers, industry and educational training providers all have an obligation to ensure that our working individuals have the right skills and competencies for employability. There is a clear need to formalise the connection between industry and education with an agenda for improving skills for the 21st century. Creating and maintaining industry and educational networks will provide Irish employers and their employees an opportunity to influence the programmes needed to ensure next generation employability whilst also providing training and upskilling for the productive citizen. Addressing this challenge requires financial support and forward thinking from our policy makers and public funded agencies.

Mike Conroy, Senior Director of CISCO in Galway informed the audience Ireland will be 100 in 2022.  We need to have an Innovative Society and infrastructure alongside innovation processes and people in order to drive prosperity in Ireland for the future.

Dr. Brendan Cleary from the Enterprise Research Centre at the University of Limerick highlighted the need for education and industry integration and presented the new way of accessing information on courses and modules for the future.

Chris Kurjan, Innovation Delivery, presented an innovative presentation on innovation and comforted the audience to the fact that all of us had the capability of innovation whilst also supporting the other speakers in saying that we need a triangle of interaction between Ireland, it's industries and education.

Ron Immink from "SmallBusinessCan" gave a refreshing presentation on individuals and organisations capability for innovation and that Ireland was more than capable with its human capital of innovating into the future. 

Chairperson Dr. Chris Coughlan from Hewlett Packard noted that in order to achieve the knowledge society that the government is proposing, it is critical that investment continues in industry and education integration. These two groups need to work together and continuously articulate in order for us to achieve our smart economy.  He summed up the event by saying that change, conversion and collaboration are the vision of the future.

The event concluded with Dr. Hunt presenting Concepta Mc Manus a Masters Degree student in Technology Management with the ULearning Cup in recognition for her work on a cost-saving and innovative best practice green IT framework for SMEs. Dr. Hunt noted that despite the challenges we face at the moment we must encourage our employers and individuals to continue in upskilling and support a skilled workforce in contributing to Ireland's economic future. She concluded by saying that solid commitment from our government is required to ensure that networks like ULearning do not disappear due to lack of funding!

For further information on ULearning, please contact Dr. Ingrid Hunt at

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