Govt invests €15m to fund 79 SFI research projects.

24 Aug 2011

The Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr. Seán Sherlock T.D., today
announced Government funding of €15 million to be provided over the next four years for 79 research projects as part of Science Foundation Ireland’s 2011 Research Frontiers Programme.

Minister Sherlock warned that robust and competitive research will drive Ireland’s economic development.

“It is vital that Ireland has a robust and competitive research environment that contributes to economic recovery. The projects announced today are very much part of this drive to further build Ireland’s research capability in support of our economic development. Science Foundation Ireland is a key organisation in driving this in terms of indentifying opportunities for top class research in Ireland.

“These projects are of direct relevance to our daily lives. Discoveries that can be achieved in these sectors will have an impact on computer science, the environment, health and other important fields with the potential to create and sustain top-quality jobs in Ireland.”

Ireland rises in Global Innovation Index

Welcoming Ireland’s continued improvement in the world innovation rankings, up from 19th in 2010 to 13th in the 2011 Global Innovation Index, Minister Sherlock said: “Achieving international recognition for our continued improvement in innovation is a long-term and constant challenge.

Innovation is fundamental to building a sound economy for the 21st century which will lead to the creation of new and better jobs”.

The SFI funding to 15 research bodies will support the development of Ireland’s human capital by providing employment and training to 94 researchers, mainly PhD students.

Amongst the successful projects to be funded involve cutting edge research related to optical sensors, energy/solar cells, cyber security, renewable gas,  high-speed wireless communication interfaces and an integrated volcanic ash forecasting system. Also included are a number of health research projects linked to Cancer, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Schizophrenia, Inflammation of the brain, Urinary Incontinence, Type 2- Diabetes and Cystic Fibrosis.

Dr Graham Love, Director of Policy & Communications, SFI, said “A significant number of the awards announced today provide support to early-career researchers with the aim of helping our most promising minds to build their research careers here in Ireland and contribute their ideas and talent to the economy.”

Dr. Love added: “The 79 projects have been selected following a rigorous review to ensure that only the highest quality projects are supported. SFI received 291 applications and these were evaluated by 123 international researchers.

“This process is endorsed by the success of the funding provided to date. Projects supported under the Research Frontiers Programme have contributed significantly to Ireland’s scientific reputation and economic development through 67 industry collaborations, 436 collaborations with overseas research bodies and the publication of 499 scientific papers,” Dr Love said.

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