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Agency to target new sectors and convergence opportunities driven by technology

Agency to target new sectors and convergence opportunities driven by technology

(February 25 – 2015) IDA IRELAND, the government agency responsible for attracting inward investment, has announced ambitious targets to boost Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Ireland by over 40%, creating 80,000 new jobs in the economy over the next five years.

The ambitious targets will bring total direct employment by overseas companies in Ireland to 209,000 people by 2019. This will be the highest level of employment from overseas firms in the history of the State and will deliver wide-ranging economic benefits for the people of Ireland.

The five-year plan for Ireland’s FDI offering, entitled Winning, was unveiled today in Dublin and outlines the organisation’s high level strategic actions aimed at developing the sector further. IDA aims to win 900 individual projects over the next five years, increasing its investment target by over 40%. This will be based on an ability to respond to client’s needs efficiently, effectively and ahead of the competition.

As part of its growth strategy, IDA has committed to itself to increasing the level of investment into each region of Ireland by between 30% and 40%. IDA said by working closely with stakeholders in each region, as a cohesive team, it will be possible to achieve these goals. IDA will target the same high-level of investment Dublin has achieved over the past 5 years.

A €150m property investment plan, spread out over five years, will support the achievement of the organisation’s regional goals, the agency said. The funding will be used to upgrade Ireland’s Business and Technology parks, make investments in a number of strategic utility-intensive sites and build new advanced technology buildings in regional locations.

In relation to its global strategy, IDA said North America would remain the key source market for FDI, but it is targeting market share growth in Europe and increasing returns from regions such as Asia-Pacific. A strong emphasis in the strategy will be on bringing first time investors to Ireland from all three markets. IDA will continue to target high growth companies.

The agency also announced it is targeting a 20% increase in spending by overseas firms within Ireland, bringing expenditure to €26.8bn per annum. In particular IDA is committed to showcasing Irish industry to its client companies. A 20% increase in cumulative spend (€3bn) on RD&I is also a target of the strategy, as overseas companies place additional high value activity into Ireland.

The Chief Executive of IDA, Martin Shanahan, said: “International competition for investment has never been more intense. IDA Ireland has set ambitious investment and jobs targets for the next five-years. In order to achieve these targets, a continuation of the pro-business policies that have been employed to-date is required and we need to maintain our competitiveness. To achieve the ambitious FDI regional targets in this strategy will require the support of all regional stakeholders to help develop attractive regional offerings.”

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said: “Multinational investment is at the heart of our jobs plan, and since taking office we have put in place a range of measures to deliver jobs growth in this area – including extra resources for IDA in overseas markets, improving our competitiveness and enhancing our tax regime. The result is that in the past four years – following several difficult years – we have seen almost 25,000 extra jobs created in foreign companies here. The impact of this is felt in lives and communities right across the country.

“In developing this new IDA strategy we had two aims in mind. Firstly to set even more ambitious national targets, and we have done that by targeting more net extra jobs per year over the next five years than even the very impressive performance in 2011-14. And secondly, in keeping with our recently announced Action Plan for Jobs, we have set highly ambitious targets for regional job creation.

“The challenge will as always be delivery. I am convinced that, between the top-class leadership in place in IDA, and the new implementation mechanisms we have put in place, Martin Shanahan and his team will deliver on these targets. This will make a major contribution to delivering our target of full employment by 2018, helping to grow tax revenues and ultimately create a better country for people to live in”.

The strategy was developed through extensive input from clients, stakeholders, the Minister for Jobs and his team, the IDA board, the executive leadership team and IDA team members. As part of this process an analysis of existing markets, sectors and new areas of potential was undertaken, as well as a thorough examination of Ireland’s value proposition for FDI.

IDA believes a range of sectors present opportunities for Ireland over the period of the strategy, including: internet of things, big data, security biometrics, smart ageing, portable services and financial technology.

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Five researchers receive funding to examine potential for new biotherapeutic breakthroughs under the SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award programme

16th December 2014, Dublin: Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) today announced funding of €1.9 million in a partnership with leading international pharmaceutical company Pfizer to encourage new biotherapeutic research in Ireland. Supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation (DJEI), the SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award programme provides qualified academic researchers with an opportunity to deliver important potential discoveries in the areas of immunology and rare diseases. Five proposals in four academic institutions in Ireland have been identified to receive funding as part of the programme.

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, and NUI Maynooth will have the opportunity to work with the Pfizer Global Biotherapeutics Technology (GBT) group, including at the Pfizer site at Grangecastle in Dublin. Their research will focus on the development of the next generation of potential protein therapies for diseases including haemophilia, fibrosis, Motor Neurone Disease, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation, Mr. Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Professor James O'Donnell, Trinity College Dublin and Dr. William Finlay, Director of Global Biotherapeutics Technologies, Pfizer

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation, Mr. Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Professor James O’Donnell, Trinity College Dublin and Dr. William Finlay, Director of Global Biotherapeutics Technologies, Pfizer

Commenting on the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said, “At the heart of SFI’s Agenda 2020 strategy is the funding of excellent scientific research that may impact both society and the economy. Innovative partnerships between industry and academia are crucial if we are to continue to share knowledge that could lead to the development of new medical breakthroughs. This collaboration with Pfizer will enable the blending of expertise from five leading Irish academic researchers with Pfizer’s drug discovery and development capabilities and could help deliver significant, accelerated advances in critical areas of biomedical research.”

Dr. William Finlay, Director of Global Biotherapeutics Technologies, Pfizer, said, “At Pfizer, we recognise that key to delivering potential therapies for patients is collaborating with other innovators in the health ecosystem in unique ways. Seeking the best research and with flexibility in how we partner, we are more focused on identifying, developing, and securing innovation in creative ways such as our collaboration with SFI. By establishing and fostering partnerships with academic thought leaders through SFI, it is hoped that we can help to accelerate the development of innovative biotherapeutic concepts for patients with unmet medical needs”.

The recipients of the SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award and research areas are:

  • Professor James O’Donnell, Trinity College Dublin - Professor O’Donnell’s research focuses on the discovery of a therapy for Haemophilia A, an inherited disease which results in uncontrolled bleeding. It is hoped that the therapy will improve patients’ quality of life and improve disease management.
  • Professor Padraic Fallon, Trinity College Dublin - Professor Fallon is seeking to develop a therapy that will modify the immune response to prevent fibrosis or scarring of organs after an immune attack, which can occur from diseases including asthma, cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, and liver cirrhosis.
  • Professor Jochen Prehn, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland - Motor Neurone Disease is a devastating and fatal neurological condition with no cure. Professor Prehn’s research is focused on developing a new therapy that it is hoped will increase patients’ lifespan and motor function, leading to an increase in quality of life.
  • Professor Paul Moynagh, NUI Maynooth - Uncontrolled inflammation causes diseases like Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Professor Moynagh’s research programme aims to develop potential new drugs that may treat some of these currently incurable inflammatory diseases.
  • Professor Martin Steinhoff, University College Dublin - Professor Steinhoff’s research focuses on severe skin diseases caused by inflammation, for which he hopes to develop a new therapy that targets the immune response.

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Dublin, 12th December 2014 –
sfi olgoMinister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD today welcomed awards to eight Irish researchers worth approximately €11 million through European Research Council Starting Grants.  The funding has been awarded to researchers from Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, University College Dublin, University College Cork and the National University of Ireland, Galway to further their research in areas such as tissue engineering, solar energy, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, disability legislation and environmental law. It is the largest number of ERC Starting Grants to be awarded to Irish-based Researchers in one year and compares to two awards approved in 2013.

ERC Starting Grants support up-and-coming research leaders who are about to establish a proper research team and start conducting independent research in Europe. The scheme targets promising researchers who have demonstrated the ‘ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal’.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD said: “This announcement represents the highest number of European Research Council Starting Grants awarded to Irish-based researchers in a single year to date. It is a sign of the momentum behind the Irish scientific community in reaching our funding targets as part of the Horizon 2020 programme.  It is testament to the talent of Ireland’s young research leaders.”

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Irish Research Council (IRC) are the National Contact Points (NCPs) for ERC programmes in Ireland and work together to provide the best support possible to the Irish research community to enable them to succeed in accessing ERC programmes.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said: “ERC Starting Grants are prestigious awards that support promising early-career researchers to continue their journeys towards research independence. The recipients announced today, have succeeded against stiff competition and I congratulate them on their achievements. The number of Irish recipients of ERC Starting Grants reflects the high calibre of emerging research talent in the Irish scientific community and the supportive environment for early-career researchers in Ireland. SFI supports early career researchers and applicants to the ERC through a variety of new schemes and it is pleasing to see the early benefits of these which will hopefully be sustained in the future.”

Dr. Eucharia Meehan, Director of the Irish Research Council said: “Congratulations to the recipients of these ERC awards which are important in enabling these innovative researchers to carry out excellent research with independence of thought whilst also enabling their career development. The ERC model and ethos is reflected in the Irish Research Council programmes and supports we provided, and will continue to provide, to applicants. The insights and knowledge that will emerge through the research of these excellent researchers will benefit the future of Irish and European, and indeed global citizens.”

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EU companies must boost R&D investment to stay globally competitive

EU companies must boost R&D investment to stay globally competitive

Brussels, 04 December 2014

Investment in research and development by companies based in the EU grew by 2.6% in 2013, despite the unfavourable economic environment. However, this growth has slowed in comparison to the previous year’s 6.8%. It is also below the 2013 world average (4.9%), and lags behind companies based in the US (5%) and Japan (5.5%).

These results are published today in the European Commission’s 2014 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, which analyses the top 2500 companies worldwide, representing about 90% of the total business R&D expenditure. Data show that EU-based companies (633) invested €162.4 billion in 2013, whereas US-based companies (804) invested €193.7 billion and the 387 Japanese ones €85.6 billion.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said: “Despite the harsh economic climate, EU companies continue to invest in R&D. That is good news, but more is needed to keep up with our competitors. With public resources limited, attracting private R&D investment is even more essential. Horizon 2020 is already engaging more businesses than ever before, but now we’re ready to step up our game. The EUR 315 billion investment plan presented by the Commission and European Investment Bank will help to raise more private investment for riskier projects, benefiting R&D across Europe.”

Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport highlighted:“Thanks to the presence of excellent researchers and good knowledge-sharing opportunities Europe is an attractive destination for R&D investment. But to keep up with global competitors we need to boost investments – and these should benefit a range of research disciplines and sectors. Building a knowledge economy requires strong foundations and we count on our industry partners to help us in these efforts.”

R&D top investing companies and sectors

The EU-based carmaker Volkswagen leads the global ranking for the second consecutive year with a total R&D investment of €11.7billion (a 23.4 % increase). The second and third place in the ranking are occupied by Samsung (South Korea) and Microsoft(US).

The automobile sector, where investments continued to increase by 6.2%, accounts for one quarter of the total R&D invested by the EU Scoreboard companies. On the other hand, high-tech sectors such as pharmaceuticals or technology hardware and equipment have experienced weaker growth and lowered the overall average of R&D investment in Europe.


The Scoreboard companies employed 48 million staff worldwide in 2013. Over the last 8 years (2005-2013), EU based companies have increased employment by 18.2%, with higher R&D intensity sectors driving that growth. This trend remains strong, despite the small decrease in employment (0.6%) by EU companies last year.


For EU based companies, 97% of the total R&D investment is by companies based in 10 countries. The overall performance is largely driven by companies based in three countries: Germany, France and the UK, which account for more than two thirds of the total. In Germany and the UK, companies’ investment continued to grow (5.9% and 5.2% respectively) above the average while French companies saw a decrease in R&D investment (-3.4%).

Declining investment in a few major EU companies particularly affected the R&D investment rate of their county. This was the case with Nokia (-17.1%) or STMicroelectronics (-19.2%) which had significant impact on the overall investment in Finland (-11.6%) and the Netherlands (-0.1%), two of the top ten countries in Europe.

Meanwhile, Scoreaboad companies based in some EU countries saw their R&D investment increase above the world average: Ireland (13.6%) and Italy (6.4%), and above the EU average: Spain (4.4%).


The EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard is published annually by the European Commission (DG Research and Innovation and DG Joint Research Centre). The 2014 Scoreboard is based on a sample of 2500 companies. The researchcollects companies’ key R&D and economic indicators corresponding to the companies’ latest published accounts. It measures the total value of their global R&D investment financed with their own funds, irrespective of the location where the relevant R&D takes place. It comprises companies that invested more than €15.5 million in R&D in 2013. They are based in the EU (633), the US (804), Japan (387) and other countries (676) including China (199), Taiwan (104), South Korea (80) and Switzerland (62). Thanks to the Scoreboard history database containing information on the top R&D companies since 2003, companies’ behaviour and performance can be analysed over longer periods of time.

The 2014 EU Survey on Industrial R&D Investment trends is based on an extended sample of the top 1000 R&D investors located in the EU.

More information:

Fact sheet “World trends in R&D private investment. Facts and figures” 

2014 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard

2014 EU Survey on Industrial R&D Investment trends

Infographics: EU R&D Scoreboard. Benchmarking EU industry innovation performance to help shape EU policy

Industrial Research Investment Monitoring and Analysis reports

For more information on Horizon 2020 

For more information on the EU investment plan

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Element Six to create 40 new jobs in Shannon

Element Six to create 40 new jobs in Shannon

Industrial diamonds manufacturer to make a €25 million capital investment in Co Clare

Industrial diamonds manufacturer Element Six has announced plans to create 40 new jobs as part of a major expansion at its Shannon plant.

The company, which is part of the De Beers Group, said it is to make a €25 million capital investment and relocate an additional €20 million of assets over two years to the site.

Once completed in 2015 the upgraded facility will offer an enhanced production capability, supplying a wide range of advanced industrial synthetic diamond abrasive materials for customers across the globe.

Element Six products are used in applications such as cutting, grinding, drilling, shearing and polishing, while the extreme properties of synthetic diamond beyond hardness are already opening up new applications in a wide array of industries such as optics, water treatment, semiconductors and sensors.

The company, which marked 50 years in Shannon last year, was at the centre of a dispute over its pension scheme earlier this year.

Separately, Nando’s has announced the creation of 28 jobs at its new restaurant in the Omni Park Shopping Centre in Santry, Dublin 9.

Nando’s currently employs more than 400 people at nine stores across the Republic and three more in the North.

Charlie Taylor

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Airlines could have windowless airplanes within 10 years

Airlines could have windowless airplanes within 10 years

Future aircraft could be entirely windowless with the interior cabin covered entirely in LED screens to reduce weight and costs within the next 10 years, according to a company developing the technology.

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) in the UK hopes the technology will provide significant cost savings to airlines that are looking to bring down their annual spend on fuel and offset the amount of carbon dioxide put into the planet’s atmosphere through greater efficiency.

Going by CPI’s own figures, for every 1pc reduction in weight, the approximate fuel saving for an airline is 0.75pc.

CPI said the weight of an aircraft can be reduced through the removal of windows.

By embedding HD displays within the interior of the aircraft, CPI hopes to be able to turn a journey into one where the walls are interactive and would appear to passengers as if they are travelling on an invisible aircraft.

Airplane screens could one day be interactive to provide real-time information from the aircraft and online. Image via CPI

Other potential developments could allow passengers to see landmarks and their location on screen, other flights in the area, or even the location of the International Space Station.

Also, users in any seat will be able to select the views they want from any side of the aircraft.

However, if the screens’ spec are to be believed, they don’t appear particularly economical despite claims they would lower fuel costs.

At just 150dpi across its 100 cd/m2 screens, CPI expects these screens to be available for production within five years.

However, if the company’s calculations are correct, these screens will only have a lifetime of about 83 days, or 20,000 hours, which might put off potential airlines if the screens’ costs are quite high.

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The number of companies seeking Irish research increased 15pc in 2013

The number of companies seeking Irish research increased 15pc in 2013

Companies are turning to Irish research organisations to tap their knowledge for commercial endeavours at a rate 15pc higher in 2013 over the previous year.

The report undertaken by Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) showed that the increase in the number of external clients that engaged with research performing organisations in 2013 saw a total of 1,598 engagement agreements.

Last year alone, 37 spin-out companies were created based on intellectual property and knowledge from Irish research performing organisations while during the same period, the number of IP-based transactions between research organisations and industry, including licences, options and assignments, increased by 48pc to 139 last year.

This is the first report issued by KTI which was established last May in a partnership between Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Universities Association that also saw the creation of a web portal providing companies with access to resources from State-funded research, particularly intellectual property, facilities and equipment.

Speaking of the report, the Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English, TD, said: “I am pleased to note the increase in commercially valuable knowledge being transferred from the research system into Irish industry.

“KTI is playing an important part (in the economy’s recovery) by helping to make it easier for companies to access the knowledge, expertise and IP available within our research-performing organisations so that they may use research and innovation to drive competitive advantage and sustainable job creation.”

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US start-up crowdfunds hoverboards to support R&D for levitating buildings

US start-up crowdfunds hoverboards to support R&D for levitating buildings

The technology to build hoverboards is here, and it could potentially be put to use to secure items – or even buildings – in earthquake-prone areas.

You heard me, McFly. Hoverboards are here and it’s not a hoax this time.

The Hendo Hoverboard floats just about one inch from the ground and the company behind it has demonstrated a real and working prototype with a number of techjournalists in the US.

But before Back to the Future fans get too excited, this technology is not accessible unless you have a spare US$10,000 to donate to Hendo’s Kickstarter campaign.

How Hendo’s hoverboard works using Lenz’s Law

Hendo hopes to crowdfund US$250,000 by 15 December to support the development of the technology powering this hoverboard, and is also offering a developer kit as a reward to put this technology into the hands of other innovators.

The finished Hendo board will start shipping a year from now and, by then, it’s also hoped Hendo will have built the facilities needed to use one.

You see, at this point, the hoverboards don’t work just anywhere. The four disc-shaped ‘hover engines’ on the underside of the board generate a magnetic field, pushing the board against itself and generating the lift needed to elevate it from the ground.

Hendo Hoverboard anatomy

Image via Hendo/Kickstarter

This requires a surface of non-ferromagnetic conductive material underneath, such as sheets of copper or aluminium, though Hendo is working on new compounds and configurations to improve this situation.

It’s the same concept that keeps Maglev trains afloat in Shanghai, China, and applies a physics principle called Lenz’s law.

Lenz’s law explains how eddy currents are created when magnets are moved relative to a conductive material. In turn, these currents create an opposing magnetic field in the conductor, and Hendo has developed technology that focuses this field more efficiently.

Magnetic Field Architecture

Greg Henderson, CEO and co-founder of Hendo parent company Arx Pax and a visionary with a master’s in architecture, has trademarked and patented this technology, which is called Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA).

From the Kickstarter campaign, 20pc of funds will go towards general MFA research and development, while 30pc will be split evenly between acquiring lab space and engineers.

Henderson claims the underlying MFA technology is entirely scalable and so it can have really small or really big applications. Hoverboards, levitating developer kits and replica desktop hoverboards for crowdfunders are just the start.

In various industries, applications could range from robots gliding along a factory floor to precious items kept safe from harm in a museum.

Henderson envisions MFA being applied to the foundations of buildings as a protective measure against earthquakes and floods. This bold vision would mean, in the future, we could literally flip a switch to be safe from tectonic shifts or a forecasted deluge.

But, before that grand scheme is realised, Hendo needs to get started on crowdfunding R&D and building a community of developers working with this technology through the Whitebox developer kit, which comes equipped with a hover engine of its own.

Hendo Whitebox

The Hendo Whitebox developer kit, complete with hover engine. Image via Hendo/Kickstarter

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IRC to award €16.8m in scholarships to post-grad students

IRC to award €16.8m in scholarships to post-grad students

The Irish Research Council (IRC) will offer €16.8m over four years to post-graduate students as part of this year’s post-graduate scholarship awards across multiple disciplines.

Under this round of the scheme, a total of 219 students from 17 institutes across Ireland have been funded by the IRC, to the value of €16.8m over four years.

In this year’s research topics, the IRC has seen PhD studies in the areas of household energy demand, the impact of obesity on motor development, the construction of Irish identity and even potential therapies for autoimmune disease.

One of this year’s 2014 Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme awardees, Bianca Ní Ghrógáin, a student of Dublin City University (DCU), has focused her research on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education with her project entitled: Computers, Creativity and the Flipped Classroom: Using Computer Construction Kits in Primary Schools to Promote STEM and Advance 21st Century Learning – an Exploratory Study.

Speaking of the awarding of this year’s funding, Eucharia Meehan, director of the IRC, said, “Research and innovation are major drivers of economic growth. As Ireland strives to position itself as a world-class knowledge economy, it is imperative that more people are encouraged and supported to engage in research.

“As such, we are delighted to award this year’s post-graduate scholars with funding to continue their education and research projects, which are to an incredibly high standard.”

Also discussing the future of her research with this round of funding, Ní Ghrógáin said, “As a primary school teacher, I became very interested in the concept of ‘the flipped classroom’, which basically means pupils learn and process content at home, and then in school the next day jump into doing tasks related to that content.

“I had considered searching for funding opportunities overseas, however, I now have the opportunity to study here in Ireland and further my research in the use of technology as a pedagogical tool.”

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Irish Industry and Govt to invest €245m in five new SFI research centres

Irish Industry and Govt to invest €245m in five new SFI research centres

A €245m investment commitment – comprising €155m from the State and €90m from industry – is to be invested in establishing five new world class SFI Research Centres that will support up to 700 researcher positions.

The investment was unveiled this morning by Jobs Minister Richard Bruton TD  and Innovation Minister Damien English TD.

The funding of €155 million from the Department of Jobs will be delivered through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Research Centres Programme, coupled with €90 million in cash and in-kind contributions from industry partners.

The funding will support cutting-edge research in critical and emerging sectors of the economy which are key for job creation in Ireland. The funding will be provided over the next six years, 2014-2020.

“The €245 million investment announced today, and the five new, large-scale, world-class research centres it will support, are aimed at achieving a step-change in the reputation and performance of Ireland’s research system,” Bruton said.

“This builds on the announcement of seven similar centres last year. With twelve world-class SFI Research Centres, Ireland is now well placed to take the lead developing cutting-edge research and new technologies, ultimately delivering more commercial ideas and jobs.”

Collaborative Partnership

The five SFI Research Centres will be involved in over 165 industry collaborations with partners ranging from multinationals to SMEs and including Intel, Google, Microsoft,Medtronic Vascular Galway Ltd, Xilinx, Huawei and many more.

The five centres involve a collaborative partnership across Higher Education Institutions in Ireland with participation from Cork Institute of Technology; Dublin City University; Dublin Institute of Technology; Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies; Dundalk IT; NUI Galway; Maynooth University; Royal College of Surgeons Ireland; Trinity College Dublin; Tyndall National Institute; University College Cork; University College Dublin; University of Limerick and Waterford Institute of Technology.

Today’s investment marks the second tranche of funding under the SFI Research Centres Programme; last year €300 million (€200 from SFI and €100 from industry) in funding was announced for seven research centres, the largest ever combined Government and Industry co-funding collaboration of its kind in the research field in Ireland.

“These five new SFI Research Centres were selected following a highly competitive and rigorous international peer review process which screened for scientific excellence and assessed potential economic and societal impact,” said Prof Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Irish Government.

“These five SFI Research Centres complement the seven we announced last year – which are already having a major positive impact: making important scientific advances, initiating and enhancing enterprise, training people with appropriate skills, winning EU projects and enhancing Ireland’s international reputation.

“These SFI Research Centres combine scientific research with deep and significant enterprise engagement, excellence and impact. We are confident that they will make a significant contribution to Ireland’s economy, employment and reputation.”

The five new SFI research centres

Adapt – Global digital connectivity

Global digital connectivity enables enterprises, communities and individuals to share information and communicate globally at incredible speed, in enormous volumes, across the world’s languages and over an ever-increasing number of devices. Adapt’s research will fundamentally change the way in which enterprises, communities and individuals can engage globally in real time. Adapt will enhance efficiencies and global reach for industry partners in key priority sectors for Ireland, including ICT, localisation, financial services, eCommerce, media, entertainment and games, life sciences, eLearning,  digital culture and humanities.

CONNECT Centre for Future Networks & Communications

The key challenges that face society all drive the need for new and varied forms of networked services. These include mobile Internet, connected health, smart agriculture, smart grids and metering, and environmental monitoring services. The CONNECT Centre focuses on future broadband, cellular and Internet-of-Things networks on which all of these services will be enabled; thereby growing the economy and supporting society at large.

CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices

As the global population ages, one in three people are expected to be over 65 by 2050, with the potential financial burden for healthcare expected to rise. CÚRAM is engaged in research to radically improve health outcomes for patients by developing innovative implantable ‘smart’ medical devices to treat major unmet medical needs. This research will position Ireland as the leader in developing medical device technologies which will provide affordable transformative solutions for chronic diseases.

iCRAG Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences

Geoscience underpins the discovery of raw materials, water and energy resources that are critical to the world’s economy. With increasing demand and diminishing supply, focused innovations in geoscience are of paramount importance globally. Ireland is home to Europe’s largest zinc mine, untapped hydrocarbon resources in challenging North East Atlantic deep water environments, and a diverse geological framework with important untapped seabed and groundwater resources. The iCRAG centre will carry out research to find and harness these resources whilst protecting the environment.

LERO The Irish Software Research Centre

Software is everywhere and key Irish industry sectors such as manufacturing, medical devices, financial services, cloud computing, analytics, and smart cities depend on it. LERO’s research mission is to replicate the success of traditional software engineering in the context of large-scale, pervasive, physically-integrated, highly interconnected, evolving, and continuously-available systems, in which the boundary between design-time and runtime is disappearing.

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