€8.5m investment fund aims at smart-economy jobs

17 May 2010

The Enterprise Minister Batt O’Keeffe has today announced that €8.5m in funding is being made available for 47 cutting-edge research projects from which it is hoped new smart economy jobs will emerge.

Through the funding, more than 100 college researchers will carry out work across a range of areas, including cystic fibrosis, genetics, bacterial and viral infections, environmental monitoring, food safety and streaming media over wireless networks.

O’Keeffe said the research areas are “profoundly linked to our health and well being and the researchers’ work will generate high-value downstream jobs”.

The 47 research projects are being funded under Science Foundation Ireland’s Research Frontiers Programme. The programme supports internationally competitive high-quality exploratory research in higher education across the science, maths and engineering disciplines.

“The €8.5m investment will create jobs and training opportunities for 105 researchers, mainly PhD students, and their work will in turn generate new jobs down the line which will have significant implications for our well being as a nation,” O’Keeffe said.

“By helping researchers at a relatively early stage in their work, the programme is targeting our most promising scientists in building their research teams and track records and enhancing our competitiveness,” he added.

R&D performance linked to competitiveness

According to the director general of Science Foundation Ireland, Prof Frank Gannon, the Government’s goal of becoming a hub for international research is being further advanced by its investment in the Research Frontiers Programme.

“Ireland’s performance in the fields of scientific and engineering research is directly linked to our future competitiveness and our quest for a measurable transformation to the smart economy.

“Last year, the Research Frontiers Programme resulted in many notable outcomes, such as 88 collaborations with 83 companies, 715 academic collaborations, and 537 scientific papers. The programme has contributed to Ireland’s rapid ascent in the ranking of scientific output, rising from 36th place in 2003 to recently breaking into the Top 20,” he said. “Ireland has joined countries such as Finland, Germany and the US in the scientific output stakes.”

The Science Foundation Ireland Research Frontiers Programme awards are made over a three to four-year period. The 11 research bodies receiving funding under the 2010 Research Frontiers Programme are: University College Dublin; Trinity College Dublin; NUI Galway; University College Cork; Dublin City University; NUI Maynooth; Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; University of Limerick; Tyndall National Institute, Cork; Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies; and Institute of Technology, Tallaght, Dublin.

Photo: Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O’Keeffe TD and Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan TD

Photo by Jason Clarke Photography

Article courtesy of Businessandleadership.com