€1m in funding pledged by Irish Govt to science pact with China

7 Mar 2013

The Irish Government has committed to provide €1m in funding over the next 12 months to advance science and innovation co-operation between Ireland and China. A similar amount from China has already been obtained or pledged.

The funding, under Science Foundation Ireland’s International Strategic Cooperation Award Programme, will focus on a number of thematic areas of co-operation which are priorities in both countries, including agri-food, nanotechnology, biomedical (diagnostics and therapeutics), ICT and health.

Innovation and Research Minister Sean Sherlock, TD, and Chinese ambassador Luo Linquan said the projects involved would contribute significantly to the objectives set out in the memorandum of understanding on co-operation in science and innovation signed last year between Ireland and China.

Led by UCD and NUI Maynooth, the funding will see all seven Irish universities, along with the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, Dublin IT, Cork IT, Waterford IT and Teagasc, partnering in a range of research activities with close to 30 Chinese higher-education and research-performing entities.

The funding will support programmes of activities including developing relationships across government agencies and industry, developing exchange programmes for students and academics, supporting enterprise development, including policy and business model studies, establishing appropriate representative presence in China, promoting Irish research through conferences, workshops and showcasing activities, and development of research funding opportunities.

“Since we signed the memorandum last year, we have been examining, with our Chinese partners, ways by which we can develop more and more linkages between Irish research groups and innovative companies with counterparts in China,” Sherlock said. “This funding will do exactly that.

“The awards will provide opportunities for collaborations between Irish and Chinese education and research institutions across a range of research activities. A core element of SFI’s Strategy – Agenda 2020 is to build international partnerships that generate excellent science and deliver economic and societal benefits both nationally and internationally. Building relationships between Ireland and China will have a positive impact on scientific research in both countries,” Sherlock said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years