Featured Article 06 Aug 2015

A booming economic, industrial, research and business development hub, Cork also has a vibrant cultural scene and is home to some of the most beautiful landscape in Ireland.

Located on the south-west coast of Ireland and surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, Cork is a thriving hub of information and communications technology, life sciences and business service operations and is renowned for its welcoming and outward-focused approach.

Its many attractions have resulted in more than 140 overseas and multinational companies choosing to base operations in and around the city; the roll call of global names includes Apple, Amazon, EMC, Eli Lilly, Bank of New York Mellon, Boston Scientific, GlaxoSmithKline, MSD, Pfizer, Novartis, DePuy Synthes, Gilead and Intel Security.

Cork city – known to many of its residents as ‘the real capital’ – is home to 120,000 people, which increases to half a million within the county. It’s a dynamic university city with a strong research bias and a third-level student population of more than 35,000.  It is also increasingly cosmopolitan with a growing population from different countries and cultures attracted to Cork for its study and employment opportunities.

Nurturing talent
Cork’s biggest third-level institute is University College Cork (UCC), which was founded in 1845, and is a globally-focused, research-led institution that aims to create and support world-leading clusters of researchers and to develop the research activity undertaken within its departments and schools.

It is one of the best-funded universities in Ireland, with investment in research reaching almost €84m in 2013/2014. Offering 120 degree and professional programmes, it has over 19,000 full-time students, including 14,000 undergraduates and 4,000 masters and PhD students.

Of the 12 research centres established by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) since 2012, UCC leads four (Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre – APC; Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research – Infant; Irish Photonic Integration Centre – Ipic; and MaREI – Marine Renewable Energy Ireland), co-leads one (Insight), and is a partner in five of the other six (Connect; Centre for Research in Medical Devices – Cúram; Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geoscience – iCrag; Lero – The Irish Software Research Centre; and SSPC – the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre).

In 2013/2014, 30pc of UCC’s research income was generated from non-Exchequer sources, primarily the European Commission and industry.  Indeed, research funding from these sources has increased by 118pc and 84pc, respectively over the last five years.  In May, UCC was ranked 16th in Europe and 52nd globally in the CWTS Leiden Ranking 2015 for its scientific research.

Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), meanwhile, is located on four campuses across the city and has 6,000 full-time and a further 6,000 part-time students. CIT has a number of areas of expertise that are directly relevant to industries in the region. Its main institute research activity is organised around three strategic research clusters – Bio-Explore, Nimbus and Photonics – designed to support internal and external collaboration, multidisciplinary research and postgraduate education and research-teaching integration.

The Bio-Explore cluster incorporates research in the area of bio-analysis and bio-control and comprises a number of research groups. Nimbus is involved in research, delivering learning and enabling knowledge transfer in the area of embedded systems. Finally, the Photonics cluster is focused on the science of generating and harnessing light and includes the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Process Analysis, the Astronomy and Instrumentation Group and the Photonics Dynamics Group.

World-class research
Cork also has a number of world-class research centres, including the Tyndall National Institute, which focuses on photonics, electronics, materials, nanotechnologies and ICT and is the largest facility of its type in Ireland. Tyndall was set up in 2004 as a successor to the National Microelectronics Research Centre (NMRC) at UCC. The institute now hosts over 460 researchers, engineers and support staff, including a full-time cohort of 135 postgraduate students, and generates over 200 peer-reviewed publications each year.

It has a network of 200 industry partners and customers worldwide and generates an income of around €30m a year, 85pc of it from competitively won contracts in Ireland and internationally. Hosting the only full CMOS, micro-electronic-mechanical systems (MEMS) and III-V wafer semiconductor fabrication facilities and services in Ireland, Tyndall is capable of prototyping new product opportunities for its target industries – electronics, medical devices, energy and communications.

The marine sector, meanwhile, has been earmarked as a new focus area for the city and Cork Harbour has been chosen as the location for a dedicated marine cluster.

Cork also benefits from excellent transport links. Its airport is Ireland’s second busiest, with an average 2.4 million passengers each year, routes to over 50 destinations across Europe, and eight flights each day to London.  The city is also well connected to Shannon Airport (125km away) and Dublin Airport (265km by motorway), both of which serve long-haul destinations.

The Port of Cork, meanwhile, handles lift-on lift-off, roll-on roll-off, bulk liquid, solid and general cargoes. Since 2000, the port has invested €72m in improving infrastructure and facilities and it recently received planning permission for a further redevelopment that will involve a €100m investment to enable it to accommodate larger vessels.

Attractive lifestyle
Apart from all of its business attractions, Cork is a great place to live. The area provides the perfect work-life balance: its friendly atmosphere, good lifestyle and ample employment opportunities not only help to attract, but also retain highly qualified and strongly motivated employees.

It’s a vibrant, bustling city with excellent shopping, dining and nightlife as well as being set in spectacular countryside dotted with numerous picturesque towns and villages.

Cork also has a strong sporting tradition, particularly in the areas of hurling, football, camogie, rugby and soccer. There are numerous golf courses in the area and, with its long coastline of rugged inlets and sandy beaches, a range of water sports are also close at hand.

The city has always been an artistic centre and this has become even more evident since its designation as European Capital of Culture in 2005. Each year, Cork hosts more than 20 major festivals as well as hundreds of smaller events. Some of the bigger ones include the International Choral Festival, Midsummer Festival, Folk Festival, Cork International Film Festival and Cork Jazz Festival.

Depuy opens €53.2m facility in Ringaskiddy
Orthapaedic and neurological solutions provider DePuy Synthes recently opened its expanded Ringaskiddy, Co Cork manufacturing site following a €53.2m investment.

DePuy Synthes, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson, established a manufacturing facility at the site in 1997 and currently employs 800 people there.

Measuring 320,000 sq ft, this is now the largest single manufacturing plant for the DePuy Synthes joint reconstruction portfolio, which includes more than 200 products manufactured at multiple sites around the world.

The new facility in Cork will also feature a medical device test methods centre of excellence laboratory to advance quality testing methods across the Johnson & Johnson family of medical device companies while also creating potential expansion opportunities for other Johnson & Johnson companies.

UCC’S new €15m marine research centre opened
The new €15m home of the headquarters of the MaREI Centre (Marine Renewable Energy Ireland) and the LIR National Ocean Test Facility was officially opened in Cork in July.

The UCC Beaufort building in Ringaskiddy is a 4,700 sq m, five-storey facility with state-of-the-art wave simulators, test tanks, workshops and offices that provides Ireland with world-class infrastructure for renewable energy and maritime research to power the ‘blue economy’.

Led by Prof Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, director of MaREI, the centre will cater for 135 researchers, industry partners and support staff. The multi-disciplinary centre has already secured €30m in funding through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and contracts with multinational and SME industry partners.

The wave tanks in the Beaufort building are capable of producing actual waves of up to 1.2 metres high, which are equivalent to the 30m+ waves experienced in extreme conditions off the west coast of Ireland and in the Atlantic.

“For decades, UCC has been a global leader in marine energy research,” said the university’s president, Dr Michael Murphy. “The Beaufort building now provides the world class infrastructure necessary to exploit that science to deliver technologies for society.”

Canadian cybersecurity company Esentire to base European HQ in Cork
Ontario-based cybersecurity company eSentire Inc is to locate its new European HQ and security operations centre in Ballincollig, Co Cork, where it plans to create nearly 100 jobs over the next five years.

The company provides solutions and services – including 24 hour monitoring by security analysts – against advanced and brand new cyber threats.

According to its chief technology officer, Mark McArdle, the company looked at several European locations for its EU base.

“We were extremely impressed with the technical talent in Cork and the ecosystem the Government has helped to develop to fill the skills gap, specifically in the demanding and competitive field of cybersecurity,” he said.

Malwarebytes picks Cork for EMEA HQ
US security software company Malwarebytes is setting up its EMEA headquarters in Cork, where it will create 50 new jobs over the next three years.

Malwarebytes was founded in 2008 by Marcin Kleczynski to tackle advanced online threats. The company has its global headquarters in Silicon Valley and has been nominated as one of Forbes Magazine’s ‘America’s Most Promising Companies’ this year.

“Cork has a deserved reputation as a leading location for technology companies, with a talented workforce and established tech ecosystem, it gives Malwarebytes the opportunity to build a world-class team,” said Kleczynski. “We are experiencing remarkable business growth and Cork will play a central role in our European expansion.”

“Cork was a natural choice for the company and we look forward to using it as our base of operations moving forward,” said VP of sales, EMEA, Anthony O’Mara.

New international telecoms access point from Cork
Cork is to have direct access to North America and the UK later this year via Hibernia Networks’ high performance undersea Express cable, which is due to be operational by September 2015.

The cable will deliver the lowest latency between Ireland, the US and the EU. It is seen as offering an economic opportunity for Cork and its environs and all areas along the Atlantic Corridor.

Hibernia owns and operates four cable landings and six different routes connecting Ireland to North America and Europe. The company originally announced its intention to construct a transatlantic submarine fibre optic cable network from New York to London offering the fastest route from North America to Europe at sub 60m back in September 2010 under Project Express. The addition of a spur to connect to Cork was driven by demand from IDA client companies.

“The extension of Express to Cork has significant international business implications and will make Ireland that much more attractive to both established players and tech start-ups alike,” said Minister for Agriculture, Food, the Marine and Defence, Simon Coveney.

“This high capacity, direct transatlantic connection will grant Irish companies the opportunity to expand their global footprint. The new link will provide direct connectivity to both the UK and North America.”

Article from Innovation Ireland Review - Summer 2015

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