The funding will enable early-career researchers to work with organisations on projects ranging from lymphoma cells to maternity care for CF patients.
The Irish Research Council (IRC) has said that €7.9m will be invested in 80 research projects for enterprise and employers as part of its Enterprise Partnership Scheme and Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme.
The IRC typically partners with around 70 organisations each year, ranging from multinational corporations to SMEs, public-sector agencies and non-governmental organisations, to provide them with early-career researchers.
The co-funded public-private programmes have the dual function of training these researchers to work on industry-related projects, as well as providing employers with a low-risk, cost-effective way of working with new research talent to diversify their business.
“Whether supporting the expansion of R&D in large-scale industry, boosting SMEs or helping to drive social or cultural innovation, the schemes provide a range of benefits for all participants,” said Peter Brown, director of the IRC.
“The contexts for researchers to make new discoveries and apply state-of-the-art knowledge go well beyond academia, and the diversity of organisational partners in this year’s cohort of awards is testament to the opportunities that are being grasped by enterprise, employers, the awardees and their host institutions.”
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, added that the investment “will further boost the skills and knowledge pipeline for innovation in industry and employers”.
The IRC has found that research and enterprise collaborations can be especially lucrative for employers. Out of 61 employers surveyed by the IRC following previous funding awards, 97pc said their organisation’s involvement with the programmes had strengthened their relationships with higher education institutions and created further opportunities for collaborative research.
There were benefits for researchers also, as 93pc of respondents said they would recommend the researchers they worked with to future employers and more than two-thirds said they would employ the researcher they worked with.
This year’s awardees
Among the researchers awarded funding under the IRC’s enterprise schemes this year are:
- Soumyadipta Kundu of NUI Galway, who will work with ONK Therapeutics to conduct research in the area of lymphoma cells
- Lucy Costelloe of University of Limerick, who will join TicketSolve to find out how models from the business sector can inform strategies for non-profits in times of crisis
- Beatrice Olayiwola of IT Carlow, who will be conducting research on the deposition of antibiotic layers on implant surface and bacterial biofilms with TheraDep
- Douglas Carton of University College Dublin, who will join Mínan Technologies for a research project on the development of a microfluidic nanoparticle synthesis device
- Jen Balfe of RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, who will be supported by Cystic Fibrosis Ireland to conduct a study of the experience of fertility and maternity care for people with cystic fibrosis