Minister names research competence centre leaders

9 Sep 2010

The members of the team of technology leaders that will run eight research centres aimed at linking industry and academics to work on market-focused innovative products have been announced today by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O’Keeffe TD.

The Government’s Competence Centre programme is a joint initiative between Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland that aims to generate new smart jobs by turning ideas into marketable products.

O’Keeffe has set aside €37m in extra funding over the next six years for investment in the new research – or competence – centres. He said the extra funding will boost investment in the programme to more than €90m over the next six years.

Today’s appointments are: Dr Alan Hynes, Competence Centre for Applied Nanotechnology, Tyndall National Institute in Cork, co-hosted by TCD CRANN; Bart Bonsall, Competence Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy, NUI Galway, co-hosted by UL and UCD; Dr Terry McGrail, Competence Centre for Composite Materials, University of Limerick, co-hosted by UCD; Barry Kennedy (acting director), Competence Centre for Manufacturing Research and Competence Centre for Energy Efficiency; Martin Delaney, Competence Centre for IT Innovation, NUI Maynooth; Mark Barry, Competence Centre  for  Microelectronics, Tyndall National Institute, co-hosted by UL; and Jens Bleiel, chief executive, Food for Health Ireland, Cork.

“These appointments mark a significant step in the development of Ireland’s first competence centres – industry-led platforms for market-focused strategic research and development which can be translated into high-tech products,” said the minister.

“If we want to produce next-generation high-tech products and services, we must get academic researchers working more closely with industry so that their expertise can be pooled and tailored for the market.

“The €37m six-year investment boost I announced last month will underpin the development of an environment that allows academics and business people to work together in producing products, services and efficiencies that meet consumer demand and create high-quality jobs.”

The minister said the number of competence centres is set to increase from six this year to 15 in 2016, with two more planned for this year.

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