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Alexion Pharmaceuticals Announces €450 Million Expansion in Dublin – 200 New Jobs and 800 construction jobs to be created over four years

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Announces €450 Million Expansion in Dublin – 200 New Jobs and 800 construction jobs to be created over four years

Alexion Pharmaceuticals today announced plans to significantly expand its operations in Ireland by constructing the Company’s first ever biologics manufacturing facility outside the United States. This €450 million, four-year project, which will be constructed at Alexion’s College Park site in Blanchardstown, is expected to create approximately 200 additional full-time jobs on completion, which will bring Alexion’s total workforce in Ireland to almost 500 employees.

Since first entering Ireland in 2013, Alexion has invested €130 million in two facilities – a vial fill-finish facility in Athlone and a Global Supply Chain facility at College Park. Phase 1 of the College Park facility, comprising Global Supply Chain HQ, laboratories, packaging and warehousing operations is expected to be operational by year-end. Approximately 560 construction workers are involved in the development of the current Athlone and College Park projects, and the planned expansion of College Park will also create over 800 construction jobs.

Alexion has worked closely with the Department of Jobs and IDA Ireland on the development of its operations in Ireland.

Julie O’Neill, EVP Global Operations, stated “Alexion is pleased to progress the development of our College Park facility with a significant expansion that will now include our first biologics manufacturing facility outside the United States. This project further underscores our commitment to Ireland and is enabled by our ability to recruit highly competent and professional personnel to support the production and distribution of our medicine, Soliris, and our strong pipeline of biologics medicines. Alexion has a unique mission to develop life-transforming therapies for patients with severe and life-threatening ultra-rare disorders. We are already serving the very few patients in Ireland suffering from two very rare and devastating diseases; with this major expansion, our Irish operations, comprising biologics manufacturing, vial fill-finish and global supply chain, will be at the forefront of this vital work globally.”

“Alexion is pleased to progress the development of our College Park facility with a significant expansion that will now include our first biologics manufacturing facility outside the United States. This project further underscores our commitment to Ireland and is enabled by our ability to recruit highly competent and professional personnel to support the production and distribution of our medicine, Soliris, and our strong pipeline of biologics medicines. Alexion has a unique mission to develop life-transforming therapies for patients with severe and life-threatening ultra-rare disorders. We are already serving the very few patients in Ireland suffering from two very rare and devastating diseases; with this major expansion, our Irish operations, comprising biologics manufacturing, vial fill-finish and global supply chain, will be at the forefront of this vital work globally.”Julie O’Neill, EVP Global Operations

Welcoming the announcement, Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton TD stated “Alexion’s latest expansion is an extremely strong endorsement for Ireland, and Dublin West in particular, as an attractive location for high-end investment from the pharmaceutical industry. It underlines the jobs-led recovery that is underway, with 90,000 jobs created and the Live Register down by a third since the peak of the crisis. We are determined to maintain this progress into the future. As Tánaiste and Social Protection Minister, my Department stands ready to assist Alexion with their recruitment needs, in particular through our Employer Engagement Unit.”

Speaking at College Park, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD said “Biopharma is a sector which we have specifically targeted as part of the Action Plan for Jobs, due to the large potential for employment growth which it offers Ireland, and we have taken a number of steps to support the growth of this sector in Ireland. Today’s announcement by Alexion is a huge boost for west Dublin and the whole country, and huge credit is owed to Julie and her team as well as the IDA. Employment will be provided for 1000 extra people, and the knock-on impact of this massive €450 million investment for the wider economy will be enormous. We are developing a powerful cluster of biopharma plants in Ireland which I am determined now to build on.”

Commenting on the investment Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland said: “This is one of the largest investments in healthcare in the history of the Irish state – putting an additional €450 million into a site is a real statement of intent from Alexion. Alexion have rapidly grown their headcount and functional responsibility over the last year. IDA Ireland will continue to target blue-chip life-sciences companies like Alexion in the coming years and capitalise on Ireland’s position as one of the top destinations in the world for pharmaceutical companies”.

Alexion currently employs a staff of 170 and growing across its facilities in Athlone and its temporary offices in Park West Dublin. Since first entering Ireland in 2013, Alexion has invested €130 million in two facilities – Athlone (€55 million) and Phase 1 of College Park (€75 million). The development of Athlone and Phase 1 at College Park will see approximately 300 people employed directly by Alexion by the end of 2016. If granted permission, Phase 2 of College Park is expected to take four years to complete.

IDA Ireland

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€1.5m EU funding awarded to Irish ICT efficiency projects

€1.5m EU funding awarded to Irish ICT efficiency projects

€1.5m in EU Horizon 2020 funding has been awarded to two Irish projects aiming to develop ‘ICT for Energy Efficient Buildings’, which are both based out of The Nimbus Centre at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT).

Three projects were awarded funding after the call for projects by the EU was whittled down from 40 applicants from across the union.

The first successful project to be selected is called TOPA (Tools for Continuous Building Performance Auditing).

Dr Susan Rea, Dr Alan McGibney and their team will develop tools and services to support continuous energy performance monitoring and will use the facilities at CIT to develop TOPAs.

The institute has on campus what is known as the ‘National Sustainable-Building Energy Test-Bed’, which allows researchers to test building energy efficiency technology with the aim of making significant cuts to the amount of energy produced by buildings in line with carbon emission reduction targets.

Will greatly benefit Europe

The second project is MOEEBIUS (Modelling Optimisation of Energy Efficiency in Buildings for Urban Sustainability) where Dr Christian Beder, with Juan Manuel Escaño and Dr Niel Canty, plan to optimise building energy control mechanisms that will allow them to implement automatic fault detection and equipment maintenance.

This will then facilitate the creation of a virtual reality environment allowing building maintenance staff to optimise their work processes.

Dr Dirk Pesch, head of The Nimbus Centre, said of the funding of the two projects: “This is a hugely positive achievement for Irish research, simultaneously elevating the impact of Ireland on the European Energy stage and assisting jobs, education, and innovation at home.”

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MINISTER ENGLISH ANNOUNCES OVER €30 MILLION SFI INVESTMENT IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

MINISTER ENGLISH ANNOUNCES OVER €30 MILLION SFI INVESTMENT IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

Government funding will support 100 research positions working on 23 research projects involving 40 companies

Investment will support world-class research in key priority areas in Ireland

Dublin, 24 April 2015 – Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD today announced over €30 million of research funding for 23 major research projects. The funding will be delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Investigators Programme. The Programme will provide funding over a four to five year period, for 23 research projects involving over 100 researchers. Funding for each project will range from €500,000 to €2.3 million.

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD said, “This funding provides assistance to individual researchers to advance their investigations and address key research questions in sectors such as energy, medicine, food and nutrition, technology and agriculture. It allows researchers to further their careers and build partnerships with leading industry partners who also benefit from access to some of the leading academic talent on this island. The Investigators Programme is an important contributor to Ireland’s credentials as a research leader in a number of sectors.

The SFI Investigators Programme supports excellent scientific research that has the potential to impact Ireland’s society and economy. The 23 projects were selected by competitive peer review involving 400 international scientists after a call for proposals across a number of thematic areas of national and international importance. The awards include research in areas such as materials science, data management, medicine and pharmaceuticals, food and nutrition, agriculture and veterinary research and have links to 40 companies.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland added, “The SFI Investigators Programme provides important support to researchers in Ireland, creating employment opportunities and allowing them to leverage State funding to access additional funding streams, such as the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme. Their research focuses on areas such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, animal breeding and disease prevention, ICT and data storage, as well as bioenergy among other topics. 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.”

Examples of projects supported:

  • Prof. Martin Steinhoff, University College Dublin – Worldwide, itch is the most frequent symptom in dermatology with a significant impact on quality-of-life for patients and their family members. Therapy-resistant itch is a major medical burden in many diseases (skin, renal, dialysis, liver, leukemias) and elderly people. A major barrier for therapeutic progress is our poor understanding of the molecular mechanisms of itch in humans. To develop new treatments against therapy-resistant itch, we will first identify in a translational setting key cytokines and chemokines in different human itch subtypes. With companies, we will then test in human studies the beneficial effects of treating itch by blocking cytokine/chemokine pathways.
  • Prof. Fiona Doohan, University College Dublin – The challenge of increasing wheat production by 70% to feed the world population in 2050 is great. We have to make a concerted international effort to increase yields, not least by controlling the diseases that reduce yield and contaminate grain with toxins. This project focuses on unravelling novel mechanisms involved in wheat response to stress and delivering knowledge and tools that can be used in plant breeding and crop biotechnology in order to improve wheat resistance to disease. Consequently, it will contribute to our understanding of plant biology, and to the development of sustainable means for enhancing food productivity.
  • Prof. Justin Holmes, University College Cork – Increasing the number of transistors on a silicon chip enables the production of faster and smaller mobile and computing devices. However, current and prospective future mobile devices based on existing technology are energy inefficient due to high power consumption and the dissipation of a large amount of heat, leading to wasteful battery usage or the requirement for elaborate cooling systems. This project will develop new nanoscale materials for “energy efficient” electronic devices. Successful implementation of the materials developed in this project could lead to smarter and “greener” electronic gadgets.
  • Prof. Noel O’Dowd, University of Limerick and Prof. Sean Leen, NUI Galway  – This aims to develop new modelling tools for Irish industry for more accurate design and assessment of materials and structures. The focus will be on welds, which are the most common location of failure in engineering components. The tools will be used to provide tailored combinations of welding and heat treatment parameters, to design material structures at the nano-, micro- and macro-scale. Specific applications are the design for optimum grain size in power-plant steels and improved designs for steel pipelines used in oil and gas offshore platforms.
  • Prof. Stefano Sanvito, Trinity College Dublin – Our society produces immense quantities of data. In 2050 a hard disk with the diameter equal to the distance between the earth and the moon will be necessary to record all the information produced by humanity. For this reason the development of new, denser and faster ways to store information is key to maintain our standard of life. This project will construct a range of designing tools for developing such next generation of recording devices. In particular it will create a simulator for fast magnetic memories and a protocol for identifying the most useful materials to fabricate such devices.
  • Dr. Donagh Berry, Teagasc – The Agri-Food industry is the largest indigenous industry in Ireland. The objective of this proposal is to achieve the Irish Government’s strategy of increased animal production through: 1) greater exploitation of more precise genetic information, 2) more precise estimation of how each genetic variant affects performance and 3) development of precision mating plans. The results will be disseminated to industry through low-cost, customised tools and resources, which are also applicable to other species and breeds.

Under the SFI Investigators Programme, 23 research projects were funded through 14 research bodies, as follows: Dublin City University (2), Dublin Institute of Technology (1), Marine Institute (1), National University of Ireland Galway (3), Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (1), Teagasc (1), Trinity College Dublin (5), University College Cork (2), University College Dublin (6) and University of Limerick (1).

About SFI Investigators Programme:

The SFI Investigators Programme alternates between thematic and open calls for proposals.  The current call was thematic and included a new partnership with the Department of Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland.Projects supported under the partnership in Northern Ireland will be announced at a later date.

Details of the thematic areas can be found at http://www.sfi.ie/funding/funding-calls/closed-calls/sfi-investigators-programme-2014.html

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MINISTER ENGLISH ANNOUNCES OVER €30 MILLION SFI INVESTMENT IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

MINISTER ENGLISH ANNOUNCES OVER €30 MILLION SFI INVESTMENT IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

Government funding will support 100 research positions working on 23 research projects involving 40 companies

Investment will support world-class research in key priority areas in Ireland

Dublin, 24 April 2015 – Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD today announced over €30 million of research funding for 23 major research projects. The funding will be delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Investigators Programme. The Programme will provide funding over a four to five year period, for 23 research projects involving over 100 researchers. Funding for each project will range from €500,000 to €2.3 million.

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD said, “This funding provides assistance to individual researchers to advance their investigations and address key research questions in sectors such as energy, medicine, food and nutrition, technology and agriculture. It allows researchers to further their careers and build partnerships with leading industry partners who also benefit from access to some of the leading academic talent on this island. The Investigators Programme is an important contributor to Ireland’s credentials as a research leader in a number of sectors.”

The SFI Investigators Programme supports excellent scientific research that has the potential to impact Ireland’s society and economy. The 23 projects were selected by competitive peer review involving 400 international scientists after a call for proposals across a number of thematic areas of national and international importance. The awards include research in areas such as materials science, data management, medicine and pharmaceuticals, food and nutrition, agriculture and veterinary research and have links to 40 companies.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland added, “The SFI Investigators Programme provides important support to researchers in Ireland, creating employment opportunities and allowing them to leverage State funding to access additional funding streams, such as the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme. Their research focuses on areas such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, animal breeding and disease prevention, ICT and data storage, as well as bioenergy among other topics. 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.”

Examples of projects supported:

  • Prof. Martin Steinhoff, University College Dublin – Worldwide, itch is the most frequent symptom in dermatology with a significant impact on quality-of-life for patients and their family members. Therapy-resistant itch is a major medical burden in many diseases (skin, renal, dialysis, liver, leukemias) and elderly people. A major barrier for therapeutic progress is our poor understanding of the molecular mechanisms of itch in humans. To develop new treatments against therapy-resistant itch, we will first identify in a translational setting key cytokines and chemokines in different human itch subtypes. With companies, we will then test in human studies the beneficial effects of treating itch by blocking cytokine/chemokine pathways.
  • Prof. Fiona Doohan, University College Dublin – The challenge of increasing wheat production by 70% to feed the world population in 2050 is great. We have to make a concerted international effort to increase yields, not least by controlling the diseases that reduce yield and contaminate grain with toxins. This project focuses on unravelling novel mechanisms involved in wheat response to stress and delivering knowledge and tools that can be used in plant breeding and crop biotechnology in order to improve wheat resistance to disease. Consequently, it will contribute to our understanding of plant biology, and to the development of sustainable means for enhancing food productivity.
  • Prof. Justin Holmes, University College Cork – Increasing the number of transistors on a silicon chip enables the production of faster and smaller mobile and computing devices. However, current and prospective future mobile devices based on existing technology are energy inefficient due to high power consumption and the dissipation of a large amount of heat, leading to wasteful battery usage or the requirement for elaborate cooling systems. This project will develop new nanoscale materials for “energy efficient” electronic devices. Successful implementation of the materials developed in this project could lead to smarter and “greener” electronic gadgets.
  • Prof. Noel O’Dowd and Prof. Sean Leen, University of Limerick – This aims to develop new modelling tools for Irish industry for more accurate design and assessment of materials and structures. The focus will be on welds, which are the most common location of failure in engineering components. The tools will be used to provide tailored combinations of welding and heat treatment parameters, to design material structures at the nano-, micro- and macro-scale. Specific applications are the design for optimum grain size in power-plant steels and improved designs for steel pipelines used in oil and gas offshore platforms.
  • Prof. Stefano Sanvito, Trinity College Dublin – Our society produces immense quantities of data. In 2050 a hard disk with the diameter equal to the distance between the earth and the moon will be necessary to record all the information produced by humanity. For this reason the development of new, denser and faster ways to store information is key to maintain our standard of life. This project will construct a range of designing tools for developing such next generation of recording devices. In particular it will create a simulator for fast magnetic memories and a protocol for identifying the most useful materials to fabricate such devices.
  • Dr. Donagh Berry, Teagasc – The Agri-Food industry is the largest indigenous industry in Ireland. The objective of this proposal is to achieve the Irish Government’s strategy of increased animal production through: 1) greater exploitation of more precise genetic information, 2) more precise estimation of how each genetic variant affects performance and 3) development of precision mating plans. The results will be disseminated to industry through low-cost, customised tools and resources, which are also applicable to other species and breeds.

Under the SFI Investigators Programme, 23 research projects were funded through 14 research bodies, as follows: Dublin City University (2), Dublin Institute of Technology (1), Marine Institute (1), National University of Ireland Galway (3), Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (1), Teagasc (1), Trinity College Dublin (5), University College Cork (2), University College Dublin (6) and University of Limerick (1).

About SFI Investigators Programme:

The SFI Investigators Programme alternates between thematic and open calls for proposals.  The current call was thematic and included a new partnership with the Department of Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland.Projects supported under the partnership in Northern Ireland will be announced at a later date.

Details of the thematic areas can be found at http://www.sfi.ie/funding/funding-calls/closed-calls/sfi-investigators-programme-2014.html

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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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MINISTER ENGLISH ANNOUNCES SCIENCE FOUNDATION IRELAND AND PFIZER INC. COMMITMENT FOR BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH

MINISTER ENGLISH ANNOUNCES SCIENCE FOUNDATION IRELAND AND PFIZER INC. COMMITMENT FOR BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH

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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MINISTER ENGLISH WELCOMES €11 MILLION EUROPEAN RESEARCH COUNCIL FUNDING FOR EIGHT IRISH RESEARCHERS

MINISTER ENGLISH WELCOMES €11 MILLION EUROPEAN RESEARCH COUNCIL FUNDING FOR EIGHT IRISH RESEARCHERS

THE LARGEST NUMBER OF ERC STARTING GRANTS TO BE AWARDED TO IRISH-BASED RESEARCHERS TO DATE

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.

Employment

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.

Trends

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%).

Background

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

Posted in R&D Investment, R&D News0 Comments

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

Posted in R&D Investment0 Comments

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.

Posted in Innovation, News, R&D Investment, R&D News0 Comments

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