EI Invests €7M in MTU’s Cyber Innovate

25th February 2024

Posted In: The Topic

Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment Simon Coveney TD recently launched MTU’s Cyber Innovate at Cork City Gaol. Funded by the Enterprise Ireland Innovators’ Initiative: Pioneering Smart Futures training programme, this €7M investment is designed to boost cyber security innovation and entrepreneurship in Ireland.

Over the next six years, MTU’s Cyber Innovate will spur new company formations and see more job creation in the sector and will also create a stream of cyber security innovation graduates to strengthen this sector and enhance Ireland’s reputation as a global player in cyber security innovation.

What is Cyber Innovate?

Cyber Innovate is designed to increase innovation and entrepreneurship in cyber security in Ireland.

Each year Cyber Innovate will provide 12-15 participants with the necessary skills to evaluate, select and validate ideas for new products and services which will contribute to the creation of new cybersecurity start-ups and university spin outs nationally. The initiative is grounded in industry needs and backed by academic rigour from MTU.

Each intake will work intensively over 10 months to identify problems and develop real world cyber security solutions. Participants will have the opportunity to work with researchers in MTU and other universities to develop their solutions with support from Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation funds. Not only will innovative services and products be created, each year a new elite group with cyber security innovation expertise will graduate and it is envisaged that many of these graduates will create their own start-ups.

Participants will be supported with a tax free €38,000 stipend and will graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma in Cyber Security Innovation.

As Chair of Cybersecurity in MTU, Dr Donna O’Shea is a key figure in the Cyber Innovate programme.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Donna O’Shea, Chair of Cybersecurity in MTU, said: “The Cyber Innovate initiative isn’t just an investment in MTU becoming a truly great and globally competitive university.

We believe the realisation of the Cyber Innovate initiative will see an Ireland that is cyber secure, cyber innovative and cyber successful.

Equipped with cutting-edge skills and industry insights, graduates of Cyber Innovate will deliver innovative commercial solutions that will address security needs for key sectors such as smart manufacturing while boosting Ireland’s cyber security industry revenue.”

This €7M Cyber Innovate investment is part of the €28M Innovator’s Initiative co-funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment via Enterprise Ireland and the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund.

The Cyber Innovate approach is similar to Bio Innovate, an existing initiative based in University of Galway. Bio Innovate has contributed to innovation in Medtech nationally, a sector which has seen acquisitions and investments to the value of over €400M in the past decade. Bio Innovate focuses on the medical device and digital health sector while Cyber Innovate focuses on cyber security. Both initiatives have a “needs led innovation” approach, focused on all stages of innovation from needs identification to designing and prototyping viable solutions as well as securing funding. The long-term expectation is for dozens of new cyber security companies and hundreds of new jobs to be created.

Pictured: Josette O’ Mullane, innovation and enterprise manager at MTU and Donna O’Shea, chair of Cybersecurity MTU. (Image – Darragh Kane)

Josette O’Mullane is MTU Enterprise & Innovation Manager and is excited about the new programme and how it will connect with MTU’s thriving knowledge network. “This programme complements our existing suite of enterprise development programmes. Participants will be co-located with many other entrepreneurs in the Rubicon Centre here in MTU,” she said.

Michael Loftus, Vice President for External Affairs MTU, Josette O’Mullane, Enterprise and Innovation Manager MTU, Lord Mayor Cllr Kieran McCarthy, President of MTU Prof Maggie Cusack, Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment Simon Coveney TD, Martina Donohue, Head of Research & Innovation Enterprise Ireland and Donna O’Shea, Chair of Cybersecurity MTU at the launch of CyberInnovate in Cork Gaol. (Image – Darragh Kane)



According to Marina Donohoe, Head of Research & Innovation with Enterprise Ireland, “Together with MTU and other project partners Enterprise Ireland is proud to be investing in the future talent and innovation that will enhance Ireland’s reputation as a global leader in this critical sector.  Cyber Innovate is one of four initiatives funded under the Enterprise Ireland Innovators’ Initiative.  This Initiative will deliver a dynamic cohort of high-calibre leaders and entrepreneurs focused on driving innovation in sectors of strategic economic importance to Ireland.



It will also help build the next generation of innovative start-ups in key sectors and enhance the level of RD&I in scaling Irish companies.”

Ireland’s Cyber Security industry is already a success. Cyber Security in Ireland is a billion euro business and employs over 7,300 people. Figures from Cyber Ireland show there are over 170 cyber security companies and 470 cyber security related companies generating € 2.1 Bn in Cyber Security Related Revenue and €1.1 bn in GVA (Gross value added) to the Irish economy. The median salary for a cyber security role in Ireland is €75k. Cyber Security Investments in Ireland are trending up. Indigenous Irish cyber security startups have seen over €129 million invested in them in the past five years.

A recent report conducted by Cyber Ireland and Cyber Skills showed there is an opportunity to position Ireland as a global leader in cyber security and to grow the workforce to over 17,000 by 2030. Cyber Innovate will see new technologies created to further this goal.

In 2023 alone over $8 billion has been invested globally in cyber security companies. Ireland is already a global leader in medtech, pharmaceuticals and technology and now it’s the turn of indigenous cyber security companies to go global.

The website for Cyber Innovate is at www.cyberinnovate.ie  and we welcome expressions of interest from potential applicants.

Lead picture (l-r): Josette O’Mullane, Enterprise and Innovation Manager MTU, Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment Simon Coveney TD and Donna O’Shea, Chair of Cybersecurity MTU at the launch of Cyber Innovate in Cork Gaol. (Image – Darragh Kane).