Industry/academic research links grew 25pc in past year


5 Aug 2010

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Science Foundation Ireland’s 2009 annual report, launched today, showed that research links between industry and academia in Ireland grew by 25pc last year.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) itself linked 349 firms with college researchers in 2009 to encourage job creation through commercialisation of this research.

A breakdown shows that in 2009, 184 multinationals and 165 SMEs were linked to academic teams by the SFI, with 29 research centres and 3,225 researchers in higher education institutions supported.

"SFI’s partnerships between academia and industry grew by 25pc last year. Almost 350 firms are now linked to SFI-funded research teams, bringing a more market-conscious focus to their work and adding value to their business models," said Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation Conor Lenihan TD.

"Collaborations and partnerships between Ireland’s scientific research and enterprise communities are now being formed at an unprecedented level and they are a critical component of our developing ‘smart’ economy," he added.

This level of science research and collaboration, says Lenihan, is part of an overall picture where Ireland has gone from "a level below Bangladesh" to entering the top 20 in scientific global rankings, according to Thomson Reuters Essential Scientific Indicators.

"The Government’s recently-announced capital investment programme is an endorsement of the progress made in innovation and a clear pledge to sustain investment in this highly competitive and critically important arena," said Prof Pat Fottrell, chairperson of SFI.

"Pioneering research, innovation, commercialisation and the delivery of success all involve tireless dedication and strategic input from many different individuals, institutions and organisations. Working closely with IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Health Research Board, Higher Education Authority, Teagasc and other vital partners, SFI is confident of sustaining the progress recorded last year into the future," he added.

Some SFI highlights in 2009:

  • An internet technology developed at DERI, NUI Galway is used by President Obama’s administration in its new website – ‘Recovery.gov’.
  • CRANN and HP announced research programme to contribute to the development of flexible displays that can be used for laptops, e-books and other electronic devices.
  • Announcement of 5 new SFI Strategic Research Clusters who will partner with 22 companies.
  • International symposium on nanotechnology, featuring leaders of world nanoscience institutes hosted by the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN).
  • Researchers in UCD have solved a chemistry problem which has stumped researchers wordwide for more than a decade – this offers opportunities for drug development.
  • Multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes patients could benefit from a research discovery by Professor of Experimental Immunology, Kingston Mills and his research team at TCD.
  • Official opening of the Tyndall National Institute new building in Cork.
  • SFI joined with IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland to represent Ireland in BIO 2009 Atlanta – the largest life sciences exhibition in the World.
  • SFI joined with IDA Ireland to co-host an R&D seminar for industry in Japan.
  • Blue Box Sensors Ltd an NUI Maynooth spin out is established based on patented technology by
    Prof John Lowry.
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