Tag Archive | "Prof Mark Ferguson"

SFI reports largest govt/industry collaboration yet – €300m in seven research centres


Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has delivered what it says it the largest govt/industry collaboration yet – seven research centres in areas like big data amounting to an investment of €300m over six years.

The centres will support over 800 top class researcher positions and are anticipated to lead to the creation of up to 1,000 jobs as additional non-Exchequer funding is leveraged during their lifetime.

The research centres are designed to help Ireland to attract further foreign direct investment, as well as create new spin-off companies and high tech start-ups.

SFI intends to expand the Research Centres Programme in 2014.

The science of economic impact

In its 2013 annual report SFI invested €152m in 307 new research awards to 20 institutions in Ireland.

During 2013 some 2,656 researchers were supported through SFI programmes.

SFI funded researchers attracted €56m in EU research funding during 2013.

Some 54 patents were registered, 27 technologies licensed and four spin-off companies were created during the year.

The agency says Ireland’s international scientific reputation has been enhanced through some 1,955 national and international collaborations in 48 countries.

In terms of industry collaboration SFI supported more than 900 joint projects with industry.

The national science agency said that Ireland is now ranked 1st in the world for Immunology, 1st for Animal and Dairy, 3rd for Nanosciences, 4th in Computer Science and 6th for Materials Science.

Best-in-class internationally

“Last year was an important year for SFI, the agency’s director general and the Government’s chief scientific advisor Professor Mark Ferguson said.

“SFI’s operating model is now best in class internationally with a much lower cost base than our peers in other countries. SFI’s SESAME system for the accurate collection of a comprehensive suite of output and impact metrics went live in 2013 and this along with ongoing international benchmarking will allow us to better measure and evaluate SFI’s overall economic impact in the years ahead.”

“Importantly during 2013 SFI fostered the development of the academic/industrial research ecosystem in Ireland. Later this year, the SFI Spokes Programme will allow new industry partners, new research projects and new capabilities to be added to the seven SFI Research Centres delivered in 2013.

“Our new Industry Fellowship programme provides an important career development pathway for Ireland’s researchers and a major opportunity for both multinational companies and indigenous enterprises which will in turn lead to increased employment levels and further economic development,” Ferguson said.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said innovation and research are key facets of the Government’s strategy to create new jobs.

“The results contained in today’s SFI annual report show that this strategy is beginning to pay off.

“Most importantly, the figures show that approximately two-thirds of the job announcements made by the IDA in 2013 had a link to SFI research. I commend Mark Ferguson and all his team on these impressive results, and look forward to working with them in the coming years.”

SFI said among its priorities for 2014 is a focus on empowering Irish researchers to lead and win in the EU’s €70bn Horizon 2020 programme and fund collaborative research in Ireland on an all-island basis.

Posted in Innovation, IT Research, Medical Research, News, R&D Investment, R&D News, University InvestmentComments (0)

Royal Society signs deal with SFI for research fellowships


The Royal Society in the UK and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) have signed an agreement whereby Ireland’s leading young scientists will be awarded a prestigious research fellowship by the Royal Society with the best early career researchers from the UK.

Funded by the SFI, applications from Ireland will be subject to a high-quality peer review by the Royal Society alongside applications from the UK.

Under the fellowship, outstanding early career researchers based within eligible research bodies in Ireland may apply for up to five years’ research funding, including salary in the first instance, with the possibility to apply for competitive renewal for an additional three years.

Open for applications on 18 July, the scheme is to cover all areas of life and physical sciences, including engineering and mathematics, but excluding clinical medicine and direct biomedical research, already covered by the Research Career Development Fellowship.

Prof Sir John Pethica, vice-president of the Royal Society and professor of physics at Trinity College Dublin, said university research fellowships are for the brightest and best young researchers.

“We are pleased that scientists at Irish institutions will now be able to join those in the UK,” Pethica said.

“International collaboration is an increasingly important aspect of science. The initiation of this scheme reflects an awareness of the value of supporting all excellent research and providing young scientists with the room and space to flourish.”

Prof Mark Ferguson, director-general of the SFI, said the interaction of Ireland-based researchers with their UK peers over their fellowship will foster research collaborations between Ireland and the UK both now and in the future.

“I encourage all of the excellent young scientists in Ireland to apply and win one of these prestigious Royal Society-SFI University Research Fellowships.”

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