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How Can R&D Boost Recruitment In Ireland?

The Republic of Ireland has long been considered a world-class place to live, work and do business. It’s certainly not short of talent, even in the face of stiff competition for qualified researchers.

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


5 minute read

The Republic of Ireland has long been considered a world-class place to live, work and do business. It’s certainly not short of talent, even in the face of stiff competition for qualified researchers.

There’s not so much of a skills shortage it seems - more the need to engage with researchers across different fields. Many postgraduates in particular, especially those with PhDs, often overlook Ireland when it comes to their long-term career planning (although Brexit appears to be boosting the country’s appeal for those who wish to remain in the EU).

The challenge is to let them know of the broad research and development opportunities that are here, whilst at the same time reminding businesses that talent is available.

It has been said that much of the difficulty is down to the fact that industry is pretty much in competition with itself when it comes to research skills. Businesses take on postgraduates for a huge variety of different reasons, and many require very specific skills in areas like IT security, data mining and analytics.

Additionally, with technology evolving all the time, companies are also looking to the future. These days they are often concerned with things like machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics. Although there is some skill shortage in these newer areas, it’s always very difficult for businesses to separate these jobs from traditional R&D roles.

In some cases, organisations may employ researchers not simply because they have a specific R&D project in mind, but because they wish to gain a deeper knowledge around a particular scientific or technological subject area. It’s almost a vocational interest.

Gaining industry skills

There’s also the degree to which academic researchers are suitable for industry R&D roles once their studies are complete. PhD courses are packed into three short years, which means there isn’t much time for students to gain the necessary skills which careers in R&D require. This is something that Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has recognised, and is working to address the issue via its new research training programme.

The SFI Centres for Research Training programme launched in 2018 to deliver postgraduate research and training programmes focusing on professionalism, employability and career mobility. It’s specifically designed to provide training for cohorts of PhD students and research masters so that they are equipped for a work environment that never stands still.

Science education programmes

In addition to those aimed at postgraduates, a number of science education programmes have also been set up for children and younger students. This includes the launch of SEEK in 2014, a worldwide education programme delivered by company volunteers. The aim of the scheme is to help children become interested in science from an early age, which in turn is hoped to help create Ireland’s next generation of technological and scientific leaders. Although the programme is global, it was piloted in Ireland with workshops taking place every year at primary schools in Cork, Dublin and Sligo. Highly popular and successful, the programme was recently expanded out to cover engineering too.

Ultimately, the aim of such programmes is to highlight what career opportunities science, technology and engineering can bring. They attempt to play a positive role in getting young people, especially girls, interested in the kinds of research and development roles currently in existence.

What financial help is available for companies looking to undertake research and development in Ireland?

If companies in Ireland spend any money at all on research and development projects, then they may be able to apply for R&D Tax Credits to help with the cost. The relief is calculated at 25% of eligible expenditure and can be used to off-set a company’s Corporation Tax bill. Alternatively, companies may be able to receive a credit which is paid in instalments.

Launched in the early 2000s, it’s a Revenue-backed scheme that looks to promote innovation and job growth across the country. Not only will such growth benefit individual companies themselves, but the wider economy too through job creation.

Is my company eligible for R&D Tax Credits?

Your business may well qualify for R&D Tax Credits if:

  • It pays Corporation Tax in the Republic of Ireland
  • The R&D activities it has undertaken are eligible under the scheme and have been carried out either in Ireland or elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • The R&D activities in question are not able to attract any tax reliefs in any other country

What activities qualify specifically under the R&D Tax Credits scheme?

In order to be able to claim R&D Tax Credits, a business must carry out research and development work which meets the following criteria. The activities must:

  • Be technological or scientific
  • Involve systemic, investigative or experimental activities
  • Require either basic or applied research
  • Be experimental in some way
  • Aim to resolve a particular technological or scientific uncertainty
  • Look to make some kind of technological or scientific advancement

How to claim R&D Tax Credits

An organisation that wishes to apply for R&D tax relief should use the Revenue Online Service (ROS) in order to claim the credit on their Corporation Tax return.

Companies must also make sure that the R&D work carried out meets all the scheme’s conditions before applying. The Research and Development Tax Credit manual provides detailed information on what kinds of activities are eligible as well as the expenditure types that are covered too. The manual also guides you through how to calculate and claim the credit. Plus, don’t forget you can use our handy R&D Tax Credit calculator to aid you in your calculation.

It’s essential that companies claim their R&D Tax Credits under Section 766 (qualifying activities) within one year following the end of the accounting period in which the expenditure occurred. However, this time limit does not apply where R&D money was spent on structures and buildings (Section 766A).

Why choose Myriad Associates?

With offices in Dublin, Myriad Associates consists of highly trained, expert teams in all areas of R&D tax credits across Ireland. Whichever sector your growing business is in, our friendly staff will offer the holistic approach to suit you. Call us today on +353 1 566 2001 or use our contact page.

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