The science advisory body responsible for masterminding the development of Ireland’s research sector is to be disbanded by the Government.
The Irish Council for Science Technology and Innovation (ICSTI), which persuaded the Government of the need to invest billions of euro in modern research infrastructure and attracting world-class scientists to Ireland, is to be replaced by a similar institution.
The high-profile body was informed of the decision at a meeting of the council on Tuesday.
No time-frame has been announced but it is possible that the new body could be up and running by the year’s end.
The decision was not unexpected as ICSTI itself had recommended that it be superseded by a new organisation that could fulfil the role of advising the government on science matters. The recommendation was one of a number included in a report prepared for the Tánaiste in December 2002, on an ‘Overarching Framework’ for science.
The other recommendations were to appoint a chief science adviser to the Government (since appointed in the person of Dr Barry McSweeney) and the creation of an Inter-Departmental Committee and a Cabinet Committee on Science and Technology, both of which have also been established.
A spokesperson for Forfás, which provides administrative support to ICSTI, said the decision should best be seen as a progression of the Council’s work. “The structures need to change in the context of all the new things that are happening.”
By Brian Skelly