Kilkeel HS Technology Projects

Friday, 16 September 2011

Generation Innovation Launched to Stem and Reverse NI Brain Drain

Generation Innovation Launched to Stem and Reverse NI Brain Drain

Call for Nominations of Students Most Likely to Succeed in the New Economy

A new initiative, designed specifically to help stem and eventually reverse the brain drain from Northern Ireland has been launched today by the Northern Ireland Science Park and other representatives from the local business community. Generation Innovation is a new initiative designed to build a physical and online network of Northern Ireland’s best young people, before, during and after their third level studies or initial career choice.

At a time when Northern Ireland has the opportunity to become one of the most entrepreneurial knowledge economies in Europe, key to this economic transformation is the availability and active engagement of new young talent who can be tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators. Currently, many of Northern Ireland’s brightest and best young people choose to leave NI to study or pursue careers elsewhere and according to research recently published by the Department of Employment and Learning, as many as 6 out of 10 who leave to study in Britain never return here to work. Many others only retain fleeting relationships with home and subsequently miss out on opportunities to pursue their careers or start a business here.

Generation Innovation is designed to address this issue head on and the Steering Group behind it is now inviting the Principals in all relevant secondary and FE Colleges to nominate Lower Sixth form students who have high potential. They will then be among the first members of this exclusive network which will be officially launched in the autumn at a high profile event which will include a number of inspirational speakers from high profile technology companies. 

Outlining the purpose of the initiative Norman Apsley, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Science Park said; “There are major opportunities for Northern Ireland in the global knowledge economy, but that is totally dependent on the availability of the next generation of entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators. Generation Innovation’s main purpose is to build and maintain a life-long relationship with our best young talent, be they high academic achievers, natural born entrepreneurs or both.  While hoping to encourage more young people to either study, work or stay here, we will also encourage those that do move away to continue a closer relationship with home and help build the entrepreneurial economy.

“Importantly in seeking nominations from our schools and colleges we are keen to not necessarily restrict it to the highest academic achievers and will also welcome nominations for students with a perceived or proven entrepreneurial flair or business acumen.  Our overall aim is to help establish a thriving entrepreneurial eco-system where innovation, vision and talent flourish and where our young people can play their part in Northern Ireland’s positive economic future.”

Explaining some of the benefits of joining the Generation Innovation network, Lyra McKee, a young entrepreneur and Steering Group member said;  “Membership of the Generation Innovation Network will bring with it significant benefits including invites to a number of annual high profile Generation Innovation Networking Events for the student and a parent or guardian as well as access to an exclusive moderated online social network.

“Throughout their membership of the Network students will regularly gain access to and have the opportunity to be guided by some of Northern Ireland’s top business people from a range of Science and Technology companies here and internationally.  Schools that support the programme will also be acknowledged for their support. The vision is that the Generation Innovation Network will then grow year on year as new members join creating a positive peer group which supports Northern Ireland’s entrepreneurial agenda.” 

The Steering Group behind Generation Innovation is made of representatives of the Northern Ireland Science Park, the wider business community as well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education promoters.

All principals in relevant secondary schools and FE colleges will now receive a letter outlining details of Generation Innovation and the nomination process and criteria. Nominations should be received before the deadline of 23rd September. Anyone with queries about the initiative can contact Meagan Blanton at the Northern Ireland Science Park on 028 9073 7806 or via email

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