Govt provides €1.7m in funding for collaboration between industry and academia

9 Jun 2014

Some €1.7m in Government funding to support 20 Science Foundation Ireland fellowships between industry and academia has been announced by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD.

The SFI Industry Fellowship Programme provides researchers from academic institutions with the opportunity to gain important first-hand experience in a commercial research environment, while also providing industry with access to highly specialised trained researchers from academic institutions.

The aim of the programme is to increase levels of collaboration between industry and academia.

The projects supported include: new technology to enable industry to map the sea bed affordably using remote sensing techniques; new technology to improve the capacity of the electricity network to take on renewable power; and new delivery systems to improve treatment of Johne’s disease in cows, a significant issue for the Irish dairy herd.

“The SFI fellowships are an important measure in delivering this, by providing funding to research projects working directly on solutions to problems that particular companies are facing,” Minister Bruton said.

“In this way, we can support researchers who are working on projects which can ultimately be developed into commercial ideas and employment – turning good ideas into good jobs.”

Business drivers and industry experience

These are the first twenty awards approved for funding under this new programme and involve research in key sectors such as animal health, smart grid, marine, solar energy, transport and mobility studies, and diagnostics in oncology with both multinational companies and SMEs participating.

Companies participating in the programme include: Siemens AG, Alcatel-Lucent Ireland Ltd., Bell Labs Ireland, Crystal Innovation, ESB Networks, IBM, Intel Ireland, Orbsen Therapeutics Inc., Pavement Management Services Ltd, Tech Works Marine Ltd, TreeMetrics Ltd, Westway Health, AstraZeneca, AMGEN, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and Perkin Elmer.

“The awards will provide academic researchers with practical working knowledge of relevant business drivers as well as legitimate industry experience and important industry contacts,” SFI director general and chief scientific advisor to the Irish Government Mark Ferguson explained.

“Industry partners participating in the programme will gain from the up skilling of staff and input into their research and development. The partnerships will in turn provide an important stepping stone for fuelling future collaborations between industry and academia.”

Applications for the 2014 Industry Fellowship Programme are now open. The programme allows the exchange of people at all levels between academia in Ireland and industry in Ireland and abroad.

Science image via Shutterstock

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