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SFI to invest €72 million in four new Research Centres

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SFI to invest €72 million in four new Research Centres

SFI to invest €72 million in four new Research Centres
May 03
09:00 2017

Science Foundation Ireland has announced it will invest €72 million over the next six years in four new world-class SFI Research Centres in Ireland. The new SFI Research Centres will be supported by 80 industry partners who will provide an additional €38 million to support cutting-edge basic and applied research with strong industry engagement, economic and societal impact. The decision follows a comprehensive international peer review process involving leading industry and academic experts over the last 12 months.

Innovation 2020, the Government’s five-year strategy for research and development, science and technology, directs that the network of SFI Research Centres should be further developed to build critical mass in strategic areas of research strength and address enterprise needs.

The announcement marks the third tranche of funding under the SFI Research Centres Programme.  The first seven SFI Research Centres were established in 2013 and a further five were established in 2015. These 12 world-leading SFI Research Centres are recognised internationally for research excellence; attract talent and capital to Ireland; anchor, attract and spin-out businesses; consolidate excellent basic and applied research across Higher Education Institutions; and secure EU and other international funding.

The four new SFI Research Centres will address the following:

– Smart manufacturing IT and industrial automation systems, led by Prof Conor McCarthy, University of Limerick

– Biological resources as alternative materials to finite fossil resources, led by Prof Kevin O’Connor, UCD

– Innovative techniques and processes in Additive Manufacturing, led by Prof Denis Dowling, UCD

– Diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of chronic and rare neurological diseases – led by Prof David Henshall, RCSI (Project Title – Future Neuro).

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland said: “Our existing 12 SFI Research Centres are outstanding international examples of applied and basic combined (ABC) research. They are making important scientific advances, enhancing enterprise and industry, developing critical skills, supporting regional development, and enhancing Ireland’s international reputation. They are drivers of Ireland’s increased rankings in research and innovation over the last number of years. They are also an important engine for the economy; companies engaged with the SFI Research Centres are located all over Ireland and globally. The commitment of industry and academic bodies to come together to develop these new SFI Research Centres clearly demonstrates the potential economic and societal impact of the planned research. I look forward to working with the four new SFI Research Centres on their road to becoming world-class centres of research excellence.”

Four further SFI Research Centre proposals were approved in principle by the SFI Board following stringent assessment by international peer review. SFI is seeking additional funding to support these centres over the next six years. These proposed SFI Research Centres involve collaborative partnerships with over 100 companies who have committed €60 million funding to the centres.

The new SFI Research Centres will be formally launched in September 2017.

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