Celebrations and hard work begin after capital lands science 'Olympics' for 2012
Irish researchers and scientists were celebrating last night after Dublin was chosen as the European City of Science for 2012.
It beat off stiff competition from other countries to host the prestigious event.
Up to 8,000 Irish and international delegates will attend the Euroscience Open Forum, which will be held in Dublin where it is also hoped to attract 50,000 citizens to an 'Olympics' of European research in July 2012.
The objective of the event is to engage and stimulate the interests of both the scientific community and the public in cutting-edge science and technology developments.
Science Minister Jimmy Devins hailed the decision as recognition of the great strides Ireland had made in the area of science technology and innovation.
The decision was also welcomed by the Higher Education Authority.
Eoin Ryan MEP congratulated the Government and the organisers on their successful bid.
"Dublin beat off the very tough competition from Vienna to win this award. This is a great opportunity to show to the world the advances that Dublin third-level educational institutions and our commercial sector have made in the areas of sciences, research and technology.
"The winning of this award will attract thousands of people to Dublin city," he said.
It comes as celebrations got under way to mark the 10th year of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI).
On Thursday, Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe will attend a launch of a special commemorative book in TCD. It is widely expected Mr Cowen will refer to the next cycle of PRTLI which could be worth €300-€400m for third-level colleges on a phased basis over the next few years.
Mr O'Keeffe said at an exhibition in UCC that the €850m spent on the programme had: l Funded 90,000 metres of space -- equivalent to 18 Croke Parks.
l Provided the research and library spaces required by researchers who are assisted by other research funding agencies. l Established 30 research centres and 38 other national initiatives/large programmes.
He called on parents and teachers to work with the Government to minimise the impact of the financial crisis. He said there was simply no question of reversing key decisions because the funding was simply not there.
"I understand that there will be difficulties in schools. However, we must work together," Mr O'Keeffe said. "I have inherited a very difficult set of circumstances and I am doing what is best for the future."