A nationwide network of 'Technology Gateways', capable of delivering technology-based solutions for companies in Ireland was launched today.

The 12 gateways are located in eight Institutes of Technology across Ireland.

They are designed to act as the 'R&D arm' of companies.

They will focus on delivering technology solutions through collaborative projects with the research teams in the ITs.

The investment, announced in Limerick by Minister of State Sean Sherlock, will be delivered through collaborative partnerships.

The partnerships will be between companies and a nationwide network of Technology Gateways, and Enterprise Ireland.

Companies will have access to highly skilled labour and, costly technology to help innovate and create new products.

This will enable companies to create new materials, and develop technologies beyond their current capabilities.

Mr Sherlock said the geographical location of the IT centres was critical to the success of the scheme.

He said the Government's primary goal is to generate growth and create employment in towns and cities around Ireland.