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NUI Galway will hold a number of free events on the topic of open innovation that will benefit those involved in start-ups, established businesses, government bodies and policy making.

The events comprise of  an Innovation Lecture and three Master Classes which will be delivered by Wim Vanhaverbeke, Professor of Strategy and Innovation, University of Hasselt, Belgium, on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 May at NUI Galway.

The public lecture (which will take place on Thursday, 8 May, at 6pm) will explain how firms that can harness outside ideas to advance their own business goals, while leveraging their internal ideas outside their current operations, are likely to thrive in this new era of open innovation. Professor Vanhaverbeke’s will focus the lecture on the most common management problems when companies commence open innovation.

The Master Classes are as follows:

From Open Innovation to Innovation Ecosystems - Thursday, 8 May from 10am to 12pm.

Innovation in High-Tech and Low-Tech SMEs – Thursday, 8 May from 2pm to 4pm.

Crafting Innovation Deals between Large and Small Companies – Friday, 8 May from 8.30am to 10.30am.

The Innovation Master Classes will take place in Room CA110, Cairnes Building, NUI Galway.

To register for the any of the free events, visit www.whitakerinstitute.ie or phone 091 492817.

For further details on the Programme, click here.

PhoneWatch job announcement! Up to 230 jobs are to be created by PhoneWatch, the security company. The company will open new offices in Dublin and Cork, as well as in 10 regional centres across the country.

The company has said that it will begin recruiting immediately for candidates in the areas of engineering, sales and operations,

Commenting on the announcement, PhoneWatch's managing director Eoin Dunne said:

'PhoneWatch monitored alarm systems are installed in more than 100,000 homes and businesses around the country. We have exciting and ambitious plans for growth in the Irish market and this new investment will help us realise that ambition.  We are establishing a regional office network to bring us even closer to our customers and to enable us to deliver an enhanced and superior service to our customers.

'Our strong regional presence will also be strategically important to us as we introduce innovative new products and services to the Irish market and continue to grow our business here.'

Goodbody Stockbrokers says that its optimistic predictions for economic growth in Ireland are based on the soaring levels of investment here.

The firm has upgraded its domestic demand figures to 2.5 per cent in 2014 and 2.7 per cent in 2015 (up from previous forecasts of 1.5pc and 2.2pc, respectively).

This is largely due to investment, which, in the fourth quarter of last year, increased by a record-breaking 25 per cent (excluding planes). Though such a spurt of growth comes off the back of a particularly low base, the growth level is still unexpectedly high.

Goodbody claims that investment levels are likely to continue to grow, along with an ongoing recovery in the property market.

Employment growth has also been impressive, it added, with employment expected to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2014.

A new IBEC report has painted the Irish economic recovery in an extremely positive light, with projections for sustained growth in employment, consumer spending and GDP for the remainder of 2014.

The report revised its GDP projections based on an above-expected investment in the economy of 21.5 per cent (IBEC’s earlier prediction was 15.5 per cent).

In addition to this increase in domestic investment, the report also predicted that consumer spending would increase by 1.9 per cent over the next twelve months. Unemployment is also expected to drop to 10.9 per cent this year thanks to an estimated 50,000 jobs coming on stream.

‘The recovery is gaining momentum, with spectacular employment growth in the private sector and strong increases in consumer confidence, business confidence and investment. Ireland is on the way back,’ said Fergal O'Brien, IBEC’s chief economist.

‘The 2013 GDP performance was not a true reflection of the current health of the Irish economy - the economy has been performing much better than reflected by the GDP numbers for some time now.

‘The employment growth trend actually provides a much better measure of what is happening in the real economy at present,’ said Mr O’Brien.

The IBEC report also suggested that the government must look at a number of key areas if it is to sustain this competitiveness. These included tax reductions, greater investment in infrastructure and education, and more support for  entrepreneurs.

Following on from recent announcements that Ireland's unemployment rate has fallen and its tax yield increased over the last three months, there was further positivity as 500 new jobs were created across three companies.

Ryanair has announced that it will generate up to 200 IT jobs in Dublin, specifically in the areas of technology, software development and digital marketing.

A further 200 were announced in the pharmaceutical sector as Alexion is to create 200 jobs in Blanchardstown, Co Dublin as part of an expansion of its Irish operations which will also include a €75m investment in a new global supply chain facility.

Finally, Pepper Asset Servicing also announced the creation of 100 new jobs in Dublin and Shannon. The company is looking to recruit financial services specialists and graduates.

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