Ireland’s €6.5m boost for applied research

23 Feb 2012

The Irish Government is to inject more than €6.5m in funding into 58 research awards, as part of Science Foundation Ireland’s Technology Innovation Development Award programme. The aim is to ultimately spin out new commericalisable opportunities from Ireland’s scientific research base.

The Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock, TD, made the announcement this morning about the funding, which is being facilitated by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

The investment is being made as part of Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme.

Sherlock said the funding would enable SFI-funded research groups to focus on the first steps of an applied research project that may have a commercial impact down the line.

The TIDA programme itself focuses on the first stages of an applied research project. As well as this, it provides financial support to research teams to enable them to get from concept to market.

“There is a particular momentum at present in the drive to commercialise scientific research. This is at the core of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2012, announced last week: investment in research leading to jobs,” said Sherlock.

He also urged the wider research community to support all endeavours towards the commercialisation of research.

He said that while today is an “endorsement of research endeavours” that it was also “a call to action” for all higher-education institutions to support their researchers and help them work towards commercialising their research.

The new director-general of SFI, Prof Mark Ferguson, spoke about how the TIDA awards would make a “telling impact” on how academia and industry can pool their resources, with the aim of achieving a commercial impact.

“The projects present significant opportunities for commercialisation of research and potential treatments in diverse areas, such as new drug delivery system, new transistor devices, 4G wireless communication, cornea repair, SMART needles, hay fever, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, biomass, waste water treatment and acoustic sensors to detect damage in pipes,” said Ferguson.

He added that Enterprise Ireland had played a key role in the programme’s selection process, underpinning the market potential of the award recipients. 

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic