Friday 24 November 2017

Science Foundation Ireland to plough €28m fund into 21 projects

The science centre, which helps teams of researchers to prototype and customise products quickly, was awarded €3,336,623.
The science centre, which helps teams of researchers to prototype and customise products quickly, was awarded €3,336,623.
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

The Department of Jobs has announced a new €28m investment through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in research equipment and facilities that will benefit 21 projects.

The research projects which will benefit cover a variety of subjects from geo-sciences to pharmaceutical manufacturing and bio-banking.

Investment was awarded based on the results of a competitive international review process. The Department says the new investment will ensure Ireland remains competitive with other nations and help research groups secure future funding from companies and Europe, including the European Union's Horizon 2020 funding scheme.

Speaking at the announcement Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said: "By investing in world-class R&D infrastructure, both at a regional and national level, this will ensure that we can compete at the highest levels internationally and continue to turn more good ideas into good jobs."

The director general at SFI, Prof Mark Ferguson, said: "Ireland is increasingly becoming the location of choice for multinational companies to develop and test tomorrow's technologies and this investment demonstrates our commitment and expanded ability to engage, discover and collaborate at all levels.

"Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support and drive Ireland's science strategy, Innovation 2020, with the addition of key infrastructure to propel important research projects. Ultimately, this is about providing Irish researchers in strategic areas with the tools to be world leading."

The investments are being made in five different sectors: animal and human health, big data analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and Networks, manufacturing, natural resources and hazards, and marine.

Also speaking at the announcement was Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English. He said that the investment "will advance the implementation of the Government's new science strategy, Innovation 2020.

"The 21 projects will enable globally compelling research to be undertaken across the country," he said.

Mr English said that will in turn facilitate greater industry and international collaboration and also support the training of researchers.

He said that the move demonstrates to an international audience that Ireland on an all-island basis, is "business friendly and bullish in its pursuit of, and participation in, excellent research".

The largest award is to go to the AMBER materials science centre, which is based in Trinity College Dublin.

The science centre, which helps teams of researchers to prototype and customise products quickly, was awarded €3,336,623.

The new funding will allow AMBER researchers to develop innovative 'printable materials' such as 3D hip and knee implants, energy storage technologies such as supercapacitors, nanocomposites for medical devices and novel nanosheets for the ICT sector.

Other large sums were awarded to Infant Discovery, which was granted over €1.5m and Connect, which was granted over €1.8m.

Just under €250,000 is going into DNA sequencing. The aim of the investment that is going into NextSeq DNA will look to help make DNA sequencing more affordable to other researchers.

Irish Independent

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