An engineering think-tank says that within the next 15 years, Ireland can become one of the top five richest economies in the world
It says that this would give Irish people the same income per capita as the US and Japan by 2020.
The 'Engineering a Knowledge Island 2020' report is published jointly by Engineers Ireland and the Irish Academy of Engineering and sponsored by InterTrade Ireland.
It proposes a vision for a knowledge based economy which would place the island of Ireland at the forefront of the most advanced economies in the world by 2020. It states that this target is achievable and recommends that it be adopted by government - North and South.
The report recommends the development of a number of world class research and development centres and also urges the promotion of science and engineering as career options more intensively. It says that more women should be attracted to engineering and adds that linkage programmes between industry and third level institutions should be expanded.
Engineers have been central to the development of the high technology sectors, such as pharmaceutical/biomedical, IT and construction sectors. These sectors have been at the core of Ireland's economic success in recent years. Over the last decade, the number of engineers on the island has more than doubled, and the number of computer staff has increased fourfold.
The report says that Irish third level institutions are currently producing 5,100 engineering graduates and 2,500 IT graduates each year - not enough to meet the current demand. It estimates that 14,000 engineering and 6,900 IT graduates a year are needed for the island of Ireland to become a top five economy by 2020.
The report also claims that it is critically important for the island of Ireland to continue to carve out niche positions in the ICT and bio-technology/pharmaceutical sectors.
Ireland: the richest nation by 2020?
Ireland could be in top 5 richest by 2020