Saturday 3 December 2016

Scientists to share €30m pot for industry tie-ups

Paul O'Donoghue

Published 25/04/2015 | 02:30

Prof Stefano Sanvito, AMBER SFI Research Centre, TCD; Prof Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland; Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English; and Prof Tia Keyes, Dublin City University at the announcement
Prof Stefano Sanvito, AMBER SFI Research Centre, TCD; Prof Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland; Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English; and Prof Tia Keyes, Dublin City University at the announcement

Almost two dozen scientific research projects are set to benefit from a €30m block of funding from the State.

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The 23 projects were selected under the Science Foundation Ireland's (SFI) Investigators Programme and span a range of areas that are considered a priority by the Government.

The projects were selected by a competitive peer review involving 400 international scientists after a call for proposals across a number of thematic areas of national and international importance.

The programme will involve more than 100 researchers over a four to five-year period. Each project will get between €500,000 and €2.3m in funding.

The money is coming from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through SFI.

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English said the money would help the researchers to further their careers and build partnerships with industry.

He added that researchers will "also benefit from access to some of the leading academic talent on this island".

Professor Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland and chief scientific adviser to the Government, said that the chosen projects will focus on areas such as Alzheimer's disease and cancer, animal disease prevention and bioenergy.

He added: "These are areas that will make a difference to both Ireland's economy and society.

"All of the successful projects have been peer reviewed by international experts to ensure scientific excellence and we have funded every project deemed to be of the highest standard internationally."

Among the winning proposals is a study led by Professor Fiona Doohan from University College Dublin that will focus on preventing disease in common crops such as wheat and corn.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Prof Doohan said that the €1.37m grant will allow several international experts from countries such as the UK and US contribute to the research.

"This type of research is relevant on a national scale when you look at how much we rely on agriculture," she said.

"Ireland has a very high yield for crops but it also has a high amount of disease, if we can reduce the amount of disease it will allow agricultural production to increase."

Irish Independent

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