Yesterday I finished my first draft of a three page proposal for a “Software and Digital Media Centre” for Northern Ireland. I sent it to four friends and colleagues for comments.
It is a public research organisation and the focus of its work is in the area of telecoms and internet technologies. TSSG engages in research and works with industry as well.
A unique aspect of the setup is that the TSSG competes for every cent that it brings in, and its funding is mainly dependent on the winning of tenders that are a part of the European funding framework and collaborating and partnering with other organisations.
“We see ourselves very much as a European organisation. We see ourselves competing for collaborative tenders and working with the leading companies across Europe.”
TSSG represents part of a model that I seek to encourage. To establish an organisation in Northern Ireland which will work with universities and industry alike to deliver on market trends quicker, to be more responsive to the needs of industry and to open the doors on the exploitation of university research and european collaboration. I envision a hub in Belfast and satellite sites (linked to colleges and universities) throughout the province, echoing conversations I’ve had with Mark Nagurski regarding the creation of a “Big Hub”. Northern Ireland is the hub of creativity. For every Titanic, we have a Lord Kelvin. For every George Best, we have a C.S. Lewis.
So, I’m looking for some collaborators. Some folk who want to work on the process, help me submit something impressive and lobby for the change we need. It’s my firm belief that with the right people, regardless of the money, we can change things.
On Tuesday this week, Nichola argued against grant culture in Northern Ireland: Any Grants Going?. I absolutely agree. We need to find champions who will stand together to change the world because if I have learned anything in the last three years it’s that I can’t do this alone. And neither should I. I do not “represent” the industry I work for except to push myself into places where the “industry” cannot. To thump the desks loudly to make sure our interests are heard. To make waves.
We have to do things now to change tomorrow. We only have today.
We must work together, not in isolation. In numbers, we have strength.
We cannot expect others to do it for us. They have their own challenges.