€6.4m to be invested in ‘leading-edge’ tech for Irish R&D

3 Nov 2021

Leo Varadkar launching Inspirefest 2017. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said this year’s second capital equipment fund will focus on new and emerging technologies.

An investment of €6.4m will help 32 projects from across Ireland’s third-level institutions to buy research equipment needed for R&D.

This is under the second capital equipment fund this year, following July’s €6m investment in 29 projects as part of Enterprise Ireland’s technology gateway and technology centre programmes.

Announced today (3 November), the new funding will expand the previous investment with a renewed focus on new “leading-edge equipment” that will help third-level institutions collaborate with industry on emerging technologies that are expected to be in demand in the future.

“This funding invests in some really exciting new technologies, which have the potential to solve some of industry’s, and indeed society’s, biggest challenges,” said Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, TD.

One project to receive funding is a quantum security testbed, will be used by Waterford Institute of Technology’s Telecommunications and Software Systems Group. This platform will prepare companies for the arrival of quantum security technologies and help upskill their teams.

‘New approaches and fresh thinking’

Varadkar said that this round of funding also focuses on sustainability, with research into areas such as new and easily recyclable plastics and using biomass to create new products for the brewing industry.

“We must back industry and our research teams to take chances and try out different things,” he added. “There are immense challenges ahead, which require new approaches and fresh thinking.”

The selected projects went through rigorous evaluation based on eligibility criteria that included a strong track record of industry engagement, significant industrial need for the new equipment, and space to service and maintain the equipment according to international standards.

“Research and development is vital to the continued success of Irish enterprise and this funding will make another important contribution to our research infrastructure available through technology gateways and technology centres,” said Gearoid Mooney of Enterprise Ireland.

“This capital investment, blended with the expertise available in gateways and centres, will ensure that Irish industry can explore and seize opportunities in rapidly evolving sectors, where innovation is key.”

Since 2019, the capital equipment fund administered by Enterprise Ireland has funded 157 equipment purchases totalling €27.6m.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic