IBM plans to boost software development at its operations in Ireland by investing 46 million euros\u00a0(US$59 million) and hiring 300 workers in Dublin, the company announced on Thursday. The monetary investment will go toward expanding IBM\u2019s Dublin software development operation and launching a Business Incubation Center. The incubation center\u2019s goal is to foster collaboration among IBM, universities, small and medium-size businesses and the government in order to identify new technology opportunities. The new positions will include software developers as well as experts to help grow IBM\u2019s supply chain operations. IBM will also expand its Dublin Software Lab by creating centers where customers and business partners can visit to learn about service-oriented architecture, IBM\u2019s integration with SAP products, and IBM software for doctors and patients. IBM currently employs 3,200 people in Ireland, and earlier this year opened a radio frequency identification and wireless center to test and develop such wireless products and services. IBM used the announcement of the investment and staffing plans also to celebrate its 50th anniversary in Ireland. Over the years, IBM has made several significant investments in its Irish operations, including a $350 million investment in 1996 and a 22 million euros\u00a0investment in 2004. Thursday\u2019s announcement comes just weeks after the Irish government unveiled a new strategy for science and technology innovation, including 3.8 billion euros in investments through 2013 aimed in part at encouraging students to pursue math and science education so that companies like IBM can continue to find a suitable workforce in Ireland. A few days after the government announced the investment, Intel, which also has a large operation in Ireland, praised the effort. Speaking during the opening of a fab in Dublin in late June, Intel chief executive Paul Otellini said: "I wish the U.S. was taking as aggressive a position in encouraging math and science."-Nancy Gohring, IDG News Service (Dublin Bureau)Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.