Research & Innovation

Science Foundation Ireland end of year review highlights important achievements

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Science Foundation Ireland end of year review highlights important achievements

Science Foundation Ireland end of year review highlights important achievements
December 17
16:05 2013

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has today announced its key achievements for 2013 and its plans for the year ahead.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Irish GovernmentProfessor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Irish Government pictured holding SFI’s Agenda 2020.
2013 Highlights:

SFI met all of its targets under the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs.
Pre-commercial outputs for 2013 included 17 spin out companies, 30 licensed technologies, 25 patents awarded, 80 patents filed, and 147 invention disclosures.
SFI funded researchers have 1067 collaborations with 702 companies (540 collaborations with 274 MNCs and 527 collaborations with 428 SMEs).
One third of researchers who left SFI funded teams took up employment in industry, 60% in companies in Ireland.
SFI researchers have 1,821 international collaborations in over 60 countries.
€300 million investment in seven SFI national Research Centres of scale, excellence and impact, involving €200 million from SFI and €100 million from 150 industry partners.
Significant investment (€9.1 million) was made in 81 applied research projects focusing on the early stages of commercialisation of new research findings through SFI’s TIDA (Technology Innovation Development Award) programme – which also trained approximately 100 researchers in entrepreneurship.
New Industrial Fellowship scheme to facilitate greater exchange of research personnel and enhanced collaboration between academia and industry.
Launch of new career development schemes for young researchers.
Launch of the SFI Discover programme for outreach activities.

2014 Priorities:

Empower Irish researchers to lead and win in the EU Horizon 2020 programme.
Launch Advance Fellowship scheme to maximise the number of women employed in STEM industries and research.
Assess and fund new Spokes projects, jointly with industry, to existing SFI Research Centres.
Assess and fund new SFI Research Centres, jointly with industry.
Fund, jointly with DEL, collaborative research of excellence and impact on an all island basis.
In partnership with the HEI’s, target recruitment of outstanding researchers in areas of key strategic importance and priority for Ireland.
Develop new funding schemes for ‘applied’ research in areas of strategic national importance.
Support the development of early and mid‐career researchers.
Provide funding in significant partnership with industry or major research entities, in areas of strategic national importance.
Provide funding to promote the study of, education in and awareness of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Director General of SFI, Professor Mark Ferguson said, “2013 has been a very productive year for SFI and one in which it continued to evolve and develop. The expansion of the agency’s remit under the Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) (Amendment) Act 2013 provides the basis for our focus in 2014. We are aiming to build on this year’s achievements in creating impact for Ireland’s society and economy through excellent scientific research. SFI can now fund applied as well as oriented basic research. This is paramount as we continue to develop and grow the relationship between industry and academia on the Island of Ireland.”

2013 marked the first full year of the implementation phase of SFI’s strategic plan Agenda 2020 a key part of which is the development of Ireland’s international reputation and standing in the area of scientific research. This year saw Ireland receive a special mention as one of five ‘Up and Coming’ destinations for high level research based on the quality and quantity of scientific research being carried out in our Higher Education Institutes by Nature Magazine, the eminent scientific publishing journal.

SFI also announced new investment of €200 million with industry funding of €100million in seven new world-class SFI Research Centres – AMBER, SSPC, APC, Insight, I-PIC, Infant, MaREI and INSIGHT. The agency plans to continue to invest in SFI Research Centres in 2014 and expects to announce at least 2 new Centres during the year. The focus for consideration will include strategic priority areas identified as part of the implementation of the Government’s Research Prioritisation Exercise through the Prioritisation Action Group. Investment in research projects and Centres in 2014 will complement the European ‘Horizon 2020’ programme to maximise Ireland’s potential for winning funding from this new EU funding scheme.

Guided by the National Research Prioritisation Exercise (NRPE) and The Action Plan for Jobs, SFI continues to play a complimentary role to that of the IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland in creating an environment conducive to the attraction, retention, expansion and initiation of industry and the creation of jobs in Ireland. For example, last year 72% of the job announcements made by the IDA had a prior collaboration with an SFI funded research group.

In 2014 SFI will continue to focus on the development of careers for researchers in industry and academia through a broad range of career development schemes. New programmes such as the SFI Industry Fellowship, the SFI Advance Fellowship, SFI Spokes and SFI Partnership will begin in 2014.

Professor Ferguson added, “The next twelve months will see SFI continue to build industry partnerships that fund excellent scientific research that will drive both economic and societal benefits, not least of which is further job creation in areas of strategic importance for Ireland. We will also begin to leverage the enormous potential that ‘Horizon 2020’ offers and build partnerships that will make it possible for Ireland to maximize success under the programme.”

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