Irish nanoscience research gets €15.5m funding boost

7 Apr 2010

As a result of €15.5m in EU funding, nanoscience research institute CRANN will create 17 new R&D jobs and lead two major European nano research projects in the areas of cancer research and next-generation computer chips.

The first 12 R&D jobs to be created as a result of this CRANN funding will be within the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) and TCD School of Medicine in partnership with CRANN: this pan-European research team will be working on new nanomedical technology to enable the early and rapid diagnosis of cancer.

This project also involves industry-academia collaboration as two Irish SMEs – Cellix Ltd and Radisens Technology – are taking part.

The remaining five jobs will be created in partnership with Intel as CRANN leads a European consortium focused on developing a next-gen electronic chip for faster and lighter computing.

“Investment in building Ireland’s R&D capability over the past 10 years is delivering returns by attracting industry and academic-based funding into Ireland and creating new jobs,” said Prof John Boland, director of CRANN.

“Ireland is now globally recognised for its expertise in the area of nanoscience, as evidenced by the large amounts of non-exchequer funding we are winning through competitive international research projects. Research is a global competition and we need to continue to develop our knowledge base and expertise to make Ireland a true innovation centre.”

A vote of confidence for Ireland as nanotech leaders

Prof Dermot Kelleher, head of TCD School of Medicine and IMM director, said that the EU funding of €10m was a “huge vote of confidence” for Ireland and that it recognised our leadership in the field of nanotechnology.

“This research programme will address some of the most important questions in human medicine relating to diagnosis and treatment of cancer, using 21st-century experience and know-how in nanotechnology, and we are looking forward to the time when our patients here will benefit from these innovative technologies,” he added.

About the Cancer Research Programme

TCD School of Medicine and CRANN principal investigator, Prof Yuri Volkov, will lead a European team of researchers to create advanced medical diagnostic devices, enabled by nanotechnology, which will allow the early and rapid diagnosis of cancer.

Importantly, the new technology, when developed, will also enable the early detection of specific cancer types, leading to improved patient care. The programme will be led by a team of clinical medical researchers from St James’s Hospital Campus, in collaboration with CRANN at TCD.

The Irish team will lead a mix of 22 European partners from academia and industry from nine EU countries for a four-year period, under the large-scale EU Funding Programme.

Volkov has been awarded the scientific leadership and co-ordination of the project. TCD professors John Michael D Coey, School of Physics and CRANN; Yurii Gounko, School of Chemistry and CRANN; and Ken Dawson from University College Dublin, School of Chemistry, are also collaborators in this project.

About the Semi Conductor Project

CRANN, in partnership with leading universities in Europe, has won the funding to lead this research programme after a Europe-wide competition, to develop new “smart” materials that will enable a solution to this problem.

The materials will organise themselves on the nanoscale to allow unprecedented control over the feature size of next-generation electronics.
Prof Mike Morris from the Department of Chemistry, UCC, will co-ordinate the project, which will involve three companies and six research partners across seven European countries.

This project is a combination of two of the five drivers recognised as critical to the future competitiveness of the European economy – nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. 

By Marie Boran

Photo: CRANN will create 17 new R&D jobs and lead two major European nano research projects in the areas of cancer research and next-generation computer chips following €15.5m in EU funding